as you like it
Rosalind falls for Orlando for many reasons in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. Since Orlando is such a small man compared to Charles the wrestler, when Orlando beats Charles, Rosalind thinks that the “young man” is capable of great strength and survival despite his small frame. He has some hidden strength and power that he is able to fight up and beat his large opponent. He is such a free spirited man and seems so approachable. He is the good guy or the “boy next door” type. He has determination and skill. Orlando is powerful in his words too. His speech is eloquent and very convincing. He just seems like such a perfect man that any woman, particularly Rosalind, could fall for him.
Orlando comes across as a charmer and a seducer. He is quiet in some ways, yet he has an underlying sense of risk and danger. The darkness that surrounds him creates an aura of appeal to women. This is probably how Shakespeare intended the role to be played. He is a charismatic portrayer and wins the audience quite easily. When he is wrestling, he is strong and confidant, determined and willing. He could conquer the world. It seems as though he is the perfect actor for the role.
In the BBC version of As You Like It, the actor who plays Orlando reminds me of a weakened, run-of-the-mill schoolboy who hasn’t yet found himself. The character of Orlando is so much more. As a wrestler, he seemed to know what he was doing, but the match was so fake. At least in Olivier’s version, it looked somewhat possible for Orlando to beat Charles. In this version, I laughed at the whole scene. It seemed so fake. He was strong-minded, yet he didn’t have the physical appeal like Olivier did. Olivier looked like the Orlando I pictured. In the BBC version, the scenes between Orlando, Celia, and Rosalind seemed contrived. I thought Rosalind was just in a bit of shock over seeing Orlando win. I don’t think she was attracted to him or felt as though he was such a great man.
Olivier’s work is usually very close to the true Shakespearean plays, yet so are the BBC versions. It was hard to decide how I felt about these two. I though the casting was bad in the BBC version while in Olivier’s version, the casting was on target. I believed their every moves and emotions. The looks between Rosalind and Orlando were real, not just fake longings like those in the BBC version. I definitely preferred the Olivier version — this time — over the BBC one. It came closer to Shakespeare’s intentions.
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