Living Canvas technology makes possible the play’s compression of 400 years into a fast-paced 65-minute monologue
Cryptic, the radically adventurous Scottish theater company founded and directed by Cathie Boyd, will make its U.S. debut at Peak Performances, April 10-13, with Darryl Pinckney’s adaptation of “Orlando,” Virginia Woolf’s 1928 witty take on sex, love and history.
Described as “the longest and most charming love letter in literature,” Woolf dedicated “Orlando” to her friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West, whose fictionalized family history, as well as Sackville-West’s own flexible approach to sexuality and marriage provide the subject matter.
Judith Williams plays the role of Orlando in the one-person play that spans the almost 400 years of its protagonist’s life. The play begins Orlando’s journey as a young 16th century aristocrat and favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, who provides him with an estate and the blessing of eternal life. He spends the next four centuries, doing among other things, dallying with a Russian princess and crisscrossing the world as ambassador to the court of Constantinople. He has a life-changing encounter with Fate, is transformed into a woman before he returns to Europe with a band of gypsies, marries a sea captain and publishes a small great work, “The Oak Tree.”
In Cryptic’s magical production, the show’s compression of 400 years of packed events, Orlando’s transformation from man to woman, his multiple costume changes without leaving stage, is courtesy of Living Canvas, an interactive real-time tracking and projection technology. The Cryptic version of the play marks the first time the alchemy of Living Canvas has been applied to theater. Orlando’s escape to Constantinople is made vividly real through the use of Point Cloud Data Imaging that generates 3D depictions of buildings.
The performance includes original music by Craig Armstrong, who composed the orchestral score for Baz Lurhmann’s film The Great Gatsby, and AGF (Antye Greie-Ripatti), who will perform the score live.