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Review: ORLANDO at Gamut Theatre Group

See this beautiful and thought-provoking performance through March 27th.

Review: ORLANDO at Gamut Theatre Group

Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando: A Biography, published in 1928, was inspired by Woolf's lover Vita Sackville-West. With the main character's change from male to female, and Orlando's universal longing for love, understanding, and adventure, the novel has been explored extensively in the fields of feminist literature as well as gender and transgender studies.

As Dramaturg Kim Greenawalt writes, "just as Vita transformed back and forth for a time between her female self and her male persona, Julian, Woolf transformed fiction as we know it with Orlando." The novel has been adapted for the stage and the screen, including a 1998 theatre adaption by Sarah Ruhl, which premiered off-Broadway in 2010. In partnership with the PA Coalition for Trans Youth, Gamut Theatre Group presents Orlando under the direction of Francesca Amendolia now through March 27th.

From the very beginning of this production, the audience is swept up into the story by the lyrical, graceful performance from each and every member of the cast. In this production boundaries disappear as all of the actors take on male and female roles interchangeably, approaching each character with equal strength and beauty. The Chorus, comprised of Ross Carmichael, Christopher Ellis, Grace Hoover, Garrett Knisley, Benjamin Krumreig, Jeff Luttermoser, Terri Mastrobuono, and Katherine Campbell Rossi, moves the story forward, interacting with Orlando in a variety of ways.

There is not a single weak link in this cast, and they keep the audience enthralled through their expressive and versatile performances. Abby Carroll takes on the title role of Orlando with a portrayal of this challenging character that is dynamic and heartfelt. Carroll's Orlando demonstrates humor, strength, transformation, self-realization, and vulnerability in a way that makes it possible for the audience to see themselves in the various facets of this character.

This entire production is astonishingly beautiful, from the staging to the costumes and lighting to the acting. And as Orlando asks the universal question "Who then am I," audiences feel the genuine emotion behind the performance and the ways in which these universal thoughts and questions connect us all as humans throughout time. As director Amendolia comments, "Orlando is a play about gender and being human, so on some level, it is a trans story but it might be more accurate to describe it as a queer story because its exploration of boundaries is not confined to gender alone." Visit to get your tickets for this extraordinary and thought-provoking production.

Photo Credit: John Bivins Photography

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