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Playgoer’s Guide

In a land where one brother is pitted against another, Duke Senior is usurped, then banished, by his younger brother, Frederick. A young man named Orlando faces a similar threat at the hands of his elder brother, Oliver. To escape harm, Orlando sets out for the freedom of the open road—though he wants nothing more than to remain behind with Rosalind, the young woman he just met. But Rosalind, daughter to the banished duke, is about to suffer her father’s fate, as she too is expelled by her uncle from the once-safe harbor of the court.

Frederick’s daughter Celia refuses to part from her beloved cousin, and the two plan to escape from his court in disguise—Celia as a shepherdess and Rosalind as her male page “Ganymede.” Accompanied by the court jester Touchstone, they flee the city to find Rosalind’s father, now living in exile among a band of loyal followers, somewhere in the Forest of Arden.

Far away from the court, Rosalind longs for Orlando, and so is caught completely off guard when, as Ganymede and in the garb of a young man, she comes upon her love in the forest. She decides to use her male disguise to befriend and teach him what it truly takes to win—and keep—a woman’s heart. The lovesick Orlando proves a ready student. Matters are muddled further when a country woman named Phoebe (loved to distraction by a shepherd named Silvius), falls head over heels for one of the new arrivals, named Ganymede…

Oliver now heads to the forest, too, in pursuit of his fugitive younger brother, but instead finds love there—for a young shepherdess whose rustic appearance belies her. It is now left in Rosalind’s capable hands to untangle this mess of mistaken notions and misguided loves.


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