On Stage

Orlando

A tale for the ages

Attend

What: Orlando

Where: Sylvia Center, 205 Prospect St.

More:

WHEN: 7:30pm May 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18

Cost: $16-$20; tickets to "Art for Housing" are $95

Info: http://www.sylviacenterforthearts.org

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Director Rich Brown was always clear about the way he wanted to approach bringing the titular character to life in playwright Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of author Virginia Woolf’s 1920s-era master work, Orlando, which opens May 2 at the Sylvia Center for the Arts.

The biography follows an English poet and nobleman born in the 1600s who changes gender from a man to a woman and lives for centuries, but Brown says it wasn’t as important to find an actor who could believably change from a man to a woman as it was to find a capable bearer of Orlando’s message—which he did in Karlee Foster.

“Gender is a construct and exploring gender fluidity is one of the most exciting aspects of this text,” Brown says. “So to be honest, we’re not getting too hung up on it. We’re not interested in ‘portraying gender’ like wearing wigs and speaking in higher pitches for women versus pants and deep voices for men. It’s in the script when Orlando changes gender after a seven-year nap: ‘Orlando was a man till the age of 30, when he became a woman and has remained so ever since.’ Your gender identity is what you feel. Period.”

Brown, a WWU theater arts professor who has also overseen staged readings of Ruhl’s works at the Sylvia Center in recent months, says he re-read Woolf’s book before diving into the remake, and notes the main difference is that the contemporary playwright focuses more on the major characters and lovers in Orlando’s life. The novel, he notes, is much more expansive.

Woolf was married to a man but had a long love affair with a woman who was also married—and who is said to be the inspiration for Orlando—and Brown says all spouses were in the know and good to go, showing they were way ahead of their time in regards to understanding the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

Whether you’re in a seat for opening night of iDiOM Theater’s final mainstage production of the season or at the “Art for Housing” benefit for Lydia Place on Fri., May 3—which in addition to a viewing of the play includes food and drinks courtesy of Bellingham Cider Co. and entry to a silent art auction—be aware that what you’re seeing is a tale for the ages.

“Sarah Ruhl is one of our greatest contemporary playwrights,” Brown says. “People should know who she is and experience her beautiful imagery and dialogue. This production is fast-paced storytelling at its best; we go from the 18th century to the 20th century in under 90 minutes. Plus, it’s about love and the struggle of the artist and the desire to find one’s full heart.”

Silver Reef Money
More On Stage...
Dance-Off
Of rabbit holes, swans and rubies

Every year, renowned actors, dancers, musicians, acrobats and other performers from around the globe make tour stops at the Mount Baker Theatre to share their talents as visiting artists, or as part of the space’s seasonal lineup. But a glance at MBT’s June’s roster—which features a…

more »
Matilda
Thirty years and counting

The logistics involved in bringing to life all of the 16 performances of Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s renditions of Matilda the Musical are mind-boggling.

To start with, the play boasts four casts and runs for as many weekends, meaning theatergoers who attended opening night on…

more »
High Times
Up in the air

In March, when aerialist PJ Perry saw Teatro Zinzanni cast member Rachel Nehmer’s solo piece relating to the difficult birth of her second child, it moved her to tears.

Other than on opening night, those in attendance at the seventh annual Aerial Showcase performances taking place May…

more »
Events
Today
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Parkinson's Dance Class

11:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Meet a Truck

1:00pm|Bellingham City Hall

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

SeaFeast Kickoff

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Spring Fling with Skagit Women in Business

5:30pm|Grand Willow Inn

Hidden Forest Foray

6:00pm|Sehome Arboretum

Off-Leash Books

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Spring Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Birds of the West

7:00pm

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Birds of the West

7:00pm|Village Books

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

House Concert with Wandering Seas

7:30pm

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Kids Guide 2019
Tomorrow
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Bellingham Community Chamber Orchestra

7:00pm| Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Kids Guide 2019
Saturday
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market2333

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Concrete Saturday Market

9:00am|Concrete Community Center

Birch Bay Kite Festival

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Birch Bay Book Sale

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Designing a Four-Season Hummingbird Garden

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Whatcom Memorial Day Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Poetry Night with Sara Sutton

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Kids Guide 2019 Trove Web Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1