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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Is Orlando as dumb as he seems?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0014  Tuesday, 2 January 2001

From:           John Marwick <
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Date:           Monday, 1 Jan 2001 23:01:28 +1300
Subject:        Is Orlando as dumb as he seems?

I am preparing to produce a staged reading of As You Like It in a couple
of months - but I've never seen the play.

Has anyone experience of cutting the play, doubling characters, or
presenting it in a minimalist way?

And has anyone seen it played where Orlando knows that Ganymede is
really Rosalind.

This idea came from reading Harold Bloom who says "When Ganymede plays
Rosalind in order to rehearse Orlando in life and love, are we to assume
that her lover does not recognise her?" (Shakespeare: The invention of
the human, Fourth Estate, London, 1999.  p 221) He goes on to say that
"Aside from straining credulity it would be an aesthetic loss if Orlando
were not fully aware of the charm of his situation."

Is this in fact a common way of presenting the play?  I have so far not
come across a commentary that mentions that idea - though it certainly
seems to add another whole level of comedy, subtlety and attractiveness
to the story.  And how much does Rosalind perhaps have an inkling that
she has been found out - do they both carry on pretending that they
think the other one doesn't know they know?
 

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