Playful Transformations: Directing Sarah Ruhls adaptation of Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Bell, Lindsay Dale Ann
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This thesis documents my artistic process as a director for a production of Sarah Ruhls adaptation of Orlando by Virginial Woolf. The research and preparation for this process begins with Ruhls aesthetic and approach to adaptation, and the influence of Joyce Pivens work in Story Theatre. A sample of contemporary versionings of Orlando in film, visual art, theatre, and music reveal not only a resurgence in popularity of Woolfs novel, but also its role in the current cultural dialogue of gender and sexual politics. These research findings informed and shaped my conceptual approach to the play and the premise: Keeping reality at bay reveals poignant truths. With this in mind, the rehearsal process explored gender, essential selves, and the unity of selves which were brought to light through languages of intimacy, physicality and characterization. Focusing on transformation, playfulness, metaphor and emptiness for our design premise led to the interactive nature of costumes, set and props, as well as lights and sound that transformed technologically. The creative process is outlined in the journal section which details the application of the research and preparation, ideas and concepts, as well as the development of the fluidity and movement of the ensemble work. The final section reflects upon the outcomes of my artistic process from the initial concept, to the rehearsal process, and the production.