Into the spotlight steps Rosalind, the actor-manager of As You Like It. She's alive. She's modern. She's also a fiction. Played by a boy actor in 1599, she's a girl who gets into men's clothes to investigate the truth about love. Both male and female, imaginary and real, her intriguing duality gives her a special role. What is a man? What is a woman? We are all Rosalind now. This book is for everyone who has ever loved Shakespeare. In April 2016, his quatercentenary will make Shakespeare more alive than at any time since his death in 1616. Like Rosalind, his most innovative heroine, he can never die. She too is timeless. There is no clock in the Forest of Arden where Rosalind finds herself and applies her mercurial wit to teach her lover, Orlando, how to become her perfect partner, issues which consume men and women today. This highly original 'biography' of Rosalind contains exclusive new interviews with Juliet Rylance, Sally Scott, Janet Suzman, Juliet Stevenson, Michelle Terry, award-winning director Blanche McIntyre, as well as insights from Michael Attenborough, Kenneth Branagh, Greg Doran, Rebecca Hall, Adrian Lester, Pippa Nixon, Vanessa Redgrave and Fiona Shaw.Angela Thirlwell explores the fictitious life and the many after-lives of Rosalind, Shakespeare's progressive new heroine, and her perennial influence on drama, fiction and art.
The book ranges widely across Tudor history, theatre history, sexual politics, autobiography, art history and filmography. On a single day Cush Jumbo wins the Sunday Times Ian Charleson Award for her performance as Rosalind at Manchester's Royal Exchange - 'it's a dream role,' she says, 'the greatest female part in Shakespeare.' As You Like It is performed for free in Central Park New York, plays in Georgian at Shakespeare's Globe on Bankside, opens in Atlanta and Seattle, goes to eleven venues across Gloucestershire, is presented on the Isle of Dogs, in Ottawa and New Zealand. A major production is scheduled at the National Theatre for 2015/16. In Canada a new prize for women's fiction is named the Rosalind Prize and Arden editions of Shakespeare set the standard worldwide in scholarship. It could be any day in any year and confirms the enduring popularity of the play and its immortal heroine.