AYL: first pass of text complete

OK, so I’ve completed the first pass through the As You Like It text.

Some thoughts and reflections:

I was able to get the casting needs down from 16 actors to 14. This was done primarily by getting rid of the two actors playing Frederick’s lords and Senior’s pages… assigning the lord roles to other actors, and combining the roles of Senior’s pages and lords. But looking at the character appearance grid, two things became apparent: 1) There was a HUGE gap in time between Rosalind appearances–14 pages of script between the end of 2.4 (their arrival in Arden) and her entrance 1/3 of the way into 3.2… and that’s just too much time for our main character to be off stage. So I started by; and 2) now I had some issues trying to get actors off and on the stage in consecutive scenes as different characters.

The solution? A re-sequencing of scenes in the first half of the show.

The play (beginning in Act Two) as written moves:

  • 2.1: we meet Duke Senior and his followers in the Forest of Arden
  • 2.2: Duke Frederick discovers the escape of Rosalind and Celia
  • 2.3: Adam warns Orlando of Oliver’s plan to kill him; they decide to flee
  • 2.4: Rosalind, Celia, and Touchstone arrive in Arden
  • 2.5: we meet Jaques in the forest with Amiens
  • 2.6: Orlando and Adam arrive in Arden
  • 2.7: Duke Senior and men are confronted with Orlando; All the world’s a stage…
  • 3.1: Frederick interrogates Oliver regarding Orlando, sends him packing
  • 3.2: Orlando in the woods; Rosalind, Touchstone, and Celia…then Orlando

So I began by jumping 2.3 ahead of 2.2… we still get the ratcheting up of tension with the back-to-back sense of danger from Frederick and Oliver. I also jumped 3.1 ahead of 2.6. Now this both increases the sense of danger for Orlando–now he’s got both Frederick and Oliver after him–and lessens it–within two scenes he will be welcomed into Duke Senior’s band… It’s a wash really.

But it didn’t really address the long Rosalind-less gap … so I swapped the positions of 2.4 and 2.5. This lessened that gap (and equalized it with the gap between Act One’s last appearance and 2.4). More importantly, it eased a quick change for Actor 13, allowing two pages of script between Silvius and Frederick (as opposed to back-to-back Lord and Frederick).

The production’s re-sequencing now looks like…

  • 2.1: we meet Duke Senior and his followers in the Forest of Arden
  • 2.3: Adam warns Orlando of Oliver’s plan to kill him; they decide to flee
  • 2.2: Duke Frederick discovers the escape of Rosalind and Celia
  • 2.5: we meet Jaques in the forest with Amiens
  • 2.4: Rosalind, Celia, and Touchstone arrive in Arden
  • 3.1: Frederick interrogates Oliver regarding Orlando, sends him packing
  • 2.6: Orlando and Adam arrive in Arden
  • 2.7: Duke Senior and men are confronted with Orlando; All the world’s a stage…
  • 3.2: Orlando in the woods; Rosalind, Touchstone, and Celia…then Orlando

It is still tight for some of the quick changes…

  • the transition from 2.2 to 2.5 both force the lords (Actors 13 and 14) in the latter scene to make slightly delayed entrances, but between a set change, music cues, and the fact that they are hunting, this should be fine
  • the transition from 2.5 to 2.4 is still tough for Actor 13… but Silvius makes a delayed entrance in the latter, so between that and a scene change, and a possible music cue, we should be fine
  • the transition between 2.7 and 3.2 will be tight for Actor 10, moving from Duke Senior who closes the former and Corin in the latter. But in the latter we have Orlando hanging and reciting his poetry. With a sound cue and a set design concept, it will still be tight, but it should still work.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a little about intermission…

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