Story of the Play: As You Like It
As the play begins, we meet Orlando, the youngest son of Old Sir
Rowland de Boys. Sir Rowland was loyal to Duke Senior -- recently
deposed by his brother Duke Frederick. While Duke Frederick rules,
Duke Senior and his men have retreated to exile in the Forest of
Arden. Sir Rowland de Boys left three sons; the eldest, Oliver,
has refused to pay for his younger brother Orlando’s education,
which rankles Orlando and his old faithful servant Adam. The brothers
fight, and then Charles the Wrestler visits Oliver to report that
Orlando is planning to challenge him in the upcoming wrestling match.
Charles is loathe to hurt the young man, but Oliver tells Charles
to break Orlando’s neck.
Rosalind, the daughter of Duke Senior, is sad because of her father’s
banishment, and her best friend Celia, daughter to Duke Frederick,
tries to cheer her up, as does the jester Touchstone. A courtier,
Le Beau, comes to report that there will soon be a wrestling match,
with Charles taking on all challengers -- he has already wrestled
with three brothers and broken each one’s ribs. Celia and
Rosalind meet the next challenger, Orlando. Miraculously, Orlando
is able to beat Charles, but when Duke Frederick learns he is the
son of Old Sir Rowland de Boys, the Duke chides him for his father’s
Rosalind gives Orlando a necklace and Orlando feels his heart has
been overthrown. Le Beau warns Orlando to leave court, to avoid
Duke Freder-ick’s displeasure. As Celia teases Rosalind about
Orlando, Duke Frederick suddenly tells Rosalind to leave the court
im¬mediately, as he no longer trusts her. Celia pleads in vain
for her friend, then hatches a plan. The girls will flee in disguise
to join Rosalind’s father in the Forest of Arden.
When we meet Duke Senior, he shares his enjoyment of living in
nature. Meanwhile Duke Frederick learns that Celia and Rosalind
have fled, believed to be in the company of the fool Touchstone
and Orlando. Warned by Adam that Oliver intends to kill him, Orlando
runs away, taking the faithful Adam who offers his life savings
to aid their escape. Rosalind, disguised as a young man named Ganymede
and Celia, disguised as a peasant woman Aliena, arrive wearily in
the For¬est of Arden with Touchstone, and overhear the young
shepherd Silvius sighing to the elder Corin of his unrequited love,
for which Rosalind feels sympathy. Questioning Corin, they learn
of a sheepcote for sale, which they plan to buy for their new home.
As Duke Senior’s men amuse themselves with song, Orlando
vows to find food for the ailing Adam. As Jacques, a melancholy
follower of Duke Senior, reports seeing a fool in the forest, Orlando
stumbles upon the men, demanding food for the moribund Adam. The
Duke welcomes him gently and invites him to share their feast. Meanwhile
Duke Frederick instructs Oliver to find his missing brother Orlando,
or forfeit all he owns.
Orlando’s thoughts have turned to love, and he papers the
trees with love poems to Rosalind. Corin and Touchstone discuss
the difference between court and country life. Celia and Touchstone
tease Rosalind about the love poems, and Rosalind is giddy to hear
that Orlando is in the forest. When they meet, Rosalind (disguised
as Ganymede) convinces Orlando to let her try to cure him of his
lovesickness by pretending to be his beloved and showing him how
many faults women possess. Orlando agrees.
Touchstone has been wooing the goatherd Audrey, and arranges for
Oliver Martext, a bumbling priest, to marry them – such a
poor marriage will make it easy later for Touchstone to leave her.
Celia chides Rosalind for toying with Orlando, and the women overhear
Silvius being scorned by his love Phebe, a proud shepherdess. Phebe
promptly falls in love with Gany-mede and has Silvius deliver a
love letter. Rosalind and Orlando continue to exchange witty banter.
Then a man appears and reports that as he slept, a lioness attacked
him, which Orlando fought, injuring himself in the battle. The man
turns out to be Oliver, who has reconciled with Orlando. When Oli-ver
delivers a bloody handkerchief to Ganymede, she faints. Touchstone
and Audrey meet William, a forest youth in love with the goatherd
Audrey, and Touchstone rebuffs him. Oliver reports to Orlando that
he and Celia have fallen in love and will be married the next day.
Orlando is growing tired of pretend courting, as Silvius describes
true love. Rosalind vows to help Silvius, Phebe and Orlando and
all plan to meet the next day. As the lov¬ers assemble before
Duke Senior, secrets are revealed and almost everyone reaches a
Marin Shakespeare Company v 2014