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  • Orlando (from left to right) Lisa Kron, Jo Lampert, Taylor Mac and TL Thompson. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

    Virginia Woolf’s eccentric novel “Orlando: A Biography” is no stranger to adaptations. Signature Theatre’s current production reinvents the uniquely timeless story, while having fun at its own expense.

    Playwright Sarah Ruhl (In the Next Room, or the vibrator play) adapted the book for the stage, with much of the dialogue taken from the novel verbatim.

    The story centers on an Elizabethan nobleman who inexplicably becomes a woman and lives for centuries. 

    Written by Woolf for (and about) her lover, Vita Sackville-West, Orlando takes place over five centuries, beginning when the title character is 16 years old.

    Played with the unstoppable force that is Taylor Mac, Orlando’s youth and innocence attract Queen Elizabeth (Nathan Lee Graham), who in turn makes him a nobleman of the Court.

    In his new position, he dallies with William Shakespeare and enjoys love affairs with a number of women (including a Russian princess).

    Throughout the many ensuing centuries, Orlando transitions to female and continues to entertain relationships that thrive on their oddities.

    It’s the magic of Will Davis’ superb direction coupled with Mac’s performance and an accomplished spin on stage from Fun Home playwright Lisa Kron, that Orlando really takes flight.

    The show is whimsical in all of its eccentricities, a constant draw for humor.

    When the story was originally published in 1928, the gender-bending piece was controversial and ground-breaking. The content is not as avant-garde in 2024, but Orlando remains a comedic, fun tale.

    In a nod to the queer community the piece embraces, the cast is entirely queer and is most made up of trans, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming performers.

    The sensational Greek chorus livens the story, only taking a backseat to Mac’s multitude of costume changes (courtesy of Oana Botez).

    Arnulfo Maldonado’s scenic design includes an enormous, unforgettable mural of an Elizabethan village, as well as a giant pendulum, symbolic for the passage of time and the ways in which the themes of the past remain relevant in the present.

    Though Orlando might have benefited from more dialogue as opposed to its deluge of narration, its contemporary celebration of the human body is aptly translated and delivered.

    The unending laughs transcend any flaws, making for a superb theatrical experience.

    For more information about Orlando, which is now open at Signature Theatre through May 12th, visit signaturetheatre.org/show/orlando/.