Friday, June 20, 2014

Final weekend for Orlando at Unseam'd Shakespeare

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

I haven't read the Virginia Woolf novel on which this new stage version is based. But Unseam'd's production of acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl's adaptation is a rare combination of winsome social commentary, lyrical depth and theatrical fun.

It's a 90-miinute show about a Briton who somehow manages to live for several centuries, starting during the reign of Elizabeth I as an aristocratic youth and at some point turning bodily into a woman, as which she lives into the present day.

Woolf and Ruhl have plenty to say about gender roles, love and the literary and theatrical arts — not least that gender itself is a form of theatrical play. But Orlando is mostly a love story, and it's done with such a light and witty touch that you might not notice you've been enlightened until later.

The excellent cast includes Amy Landis in the title role, Lisa Ann Goldsmith as his/her lover in two guises, and a terrific "chorus" of Andy Kirtland, Brett Sullivan Santry and Jonathan Visser taking a variety of small roles. Robert C.T. Steele's direction is delightful.

Unseam'd is one of those small Pittsburgh companies that do good if largely unheralded work year in and out — in its case, for an amazing 21 years, all under artistic and executive director Laura Smiley.

There are three more performances of Orlando: tonight at 8 p.m., and at 3 and 8 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $15-30 and are available here.

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