The ultimate coming-of-age story: UMass Theater presents Orlando, a play about knowing where you belong in the world

by Sarah Ruhl, adapted from the novel by Virginia Woolf
Directed by Iris Sowlat
Nov. 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
School matinee Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. 
The Rand Theater, Bromery Center for the Arts
$15 general admission, $5 students and seniors 
Tickets sold through the Fine Arts Center Box Office (call 1-800-999-UMAS or visit the website). 

When we first meet Orlando in the play of the same name, they’re a charismatic British noble, sumptuously costumed and part of glittering Renaissance society. They soon become Queen Elizabeth I’s lover. Commanded by the monarch to stay forever young, Orlando travels around the world and through five centuries on a journey to understand who they really are, encountering fascinating people in gorgeous locales in a UMass Theater production described by its director Iris Sowlat as a “visual feast.”

Originally written by Virginia Woolf as a playful, magical-realist tribute to her lover Vita Sackville-West, Orlando was adapted for the stage by Sarah Ruhl. UMass Theater’s production runs Nov. 11-19 in the Rand Theater, with tickets on sale now through the Fine Arts Center Box Office. It’s the third entry in a season that marks the 50th anniversary since the department’s founding.

“It’s an optimistic story that’s about people who happen to be queer, being joyful and being exceptional,” Sowlat added. “I also see it as the ultimate coming of age story.”

Dramaturg Percival Hornak agreed. “This is a story about self-actualization. It’s a story about feeling like you are finally able to live in the world because you understand who you are and where you belong in it.”

It’s also a story told with great visual verve. Costume designer Emily Peck has created a wardrobe of vibrant, glorious looks for Orlando and the rest of the cast. Scenic designer Drishti Chauhan’s monumental set is based around the oak tree that Orlando comes back to time and time again during their life, transformed magnificently by the skillful lighting of Hyejung Kang. Undergrad Darrow Sherman rounds out the team with a beautiful sound design.

Purchase your tickets now and to be part of Orlando’s journey of self-discovery!


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