As You Like It Plot Synopsis

Act One

Act One begins with Orlando (the younger brother) training whilst Oliver (the older brother) is being fitted for a suit. The two brothers get into a fight, during which Orlando complains that Oliver has mistreated him ever since their father died. Orlando then leaves.

Charles, a wrestler, then enters to tell Oliver that Orlando is planning to enter a wrestling competition the next day to win money. The next day, the wrestling takes place and Orlando beats Charles.

Duke Frederick who rules the land is displeased with this as he liked Charles and disliked Orlando’s father. Whilst at the wrestling match, Rosalind (the Duke’s niece) and Celia (the Duke’s daughter) meet Orlando.

Rosalind and Orlando immediately fall in love. After the wrestling match, the Duke banishes Rosalind. Celia decides that she will run away with Rosalind and the pair will escape into the forest of Arden. They both to decide to take on new identities in the forest. Celia will call herself Aliena. Rosalind will pretend to be a boy and call themselves Ganymede. They decide to bring Touchstone – a drag queen – with them.

Ada looks on as Orlando and Oliver fight.

The characters in the Forest of Arden.

Act Two

Act Two begins with Orlando coming home to find out from his servant Ada that Oliver is planning to kill him. To avoid this, both Orlando and Ada also escape into the forest of Arden.

In the forest it is winter. We meet Duke Senior. He is the older brother of Duke Frederick and has been banished to the forest. Rosalind, Celia (both in disguise now until the end of the play) and Touchstone arrive in the forest and meet Corin – an old shepherd – and Silvius – a young man in love with a woman named Phoebe.

We then meet Amiens and Jaques, two people who are followers of Duke Senior who are trying to survive in the forest. Orlando and Ada then travel through the forest. Ada is struggling to survive in the forest. Then, Duke Senior and his followers are eating a meal in the forest. Orlando then ambushes the meal and demands food for himself and Ada. Duke Senior invites Orlando and Ada to join them at the meal. They do so and Ada dies shortly afterwards.

Act Three

Act Three begins in spring. Orlando has been hanging poems dedicated to Rosalind on all of the trees. Rosalind finds the poems and does not know who has written them until Celia tells her.

Shortly afterwards, Orlando stumbles into the part of the forest where Rosalind is. Rosalind hides whilst Orlando talks to Jaques. When Jaques leaves, Rosalind emerges disguised as Ganymede and convinces Orlando to undergo lessons with them. In the lessons, Rosalind – as Ganymede – will pretend to be Rosalind to cure Orlando of his love for Rosalind. This is deliberately confusing.

In a separate part of the forest, Touchstone has fallen in love with a woman named Audrey and they are planning to marry. Once Revered Martext arrives to marry them, Audrey’s goats are released and attack him.

NOW IT’S THE INTERVAL! You MUST grab an ice cream. 
Is it all making sense? Stay on track and see who plays who in our cast list.

Rosalind and Orlando.

Silvius and Phoebe.

Act Three Continued… 

Act Three continues but it is now summer. Rosalind is waiting for Oralndo when they are interrupted by the arrival of Silvius (the young man from Act Two) and Phoebe. Phoebe is a tough, unlikeable woman whom Silvius loves. After seeing the way that Phoebe treats Silvius, Rosalind confronts Phoebe. On first seeing Rosalind as Ganymede, Phoebe falls in love with them.

Act Four

Act Four is also in summer. Rosalind is wooing Orlando while pretending to be Ganymede. Celia gets angry with the way that Rosalind is behaving. Rosalind leaves angry. Celia falls asleep and has a nightmare about what has been happening in the forest. This is an abstract movement scene.

When Celia wakes up, Rosalind has returned and is still waiting for Orlando. Instead, Silvius turns up with a letter from Phoebe. Silvius thinks it is a rude letter but it is actually a love letter.

After finding this out, Silvius leaves as Oliver appears. Oliver tells his story: he has had a near death experience and has been converted to goodness. His life was saved by Orlando who wrestled a lion to protect Oliver. Orlando was injured in the fight. Celia and Oliver fall in love on first sight. In another part of the forest, Audrey and Touchstone are having a fight because Audrey wants to get married and they are not yet. The fight is interrupted by William – another man who lives in the forest – who loves Audrey. After Touchstone comically threatens William, William leaves and Touchstone wins Audrey’s love back.

Act Five

Act Five happens in Autumn. Oliver and Orlando are reconciled. Oliver plans to marry Celia. As Oliver leaves, Rosalind arrives. Orlando is upset because he misses Rosalind (he does not realise that he is talking to her). They are then joined by Phoebe and Silvius. Phoebe, Silvius and Orlando all talk about their unrequited loves.

In desperation, Rosalind says that they can resolve all this conflict if they all turn up tomorrow. In another part of the forest on the same day, Touchstone and Audrey are talking about their plans to get married on the next day.

Amiens then turns up and sings a song for them. The next day, everybody in the forest has met for a wedding and to see how Rosalind (as Ganymede) will resolve all of the confusion.

After making up with Celia, Rosalind enters and reveals themselves to be who they are. Orlando promises to marry Rosalind, Duke Senior (her father) promises to consent to the marry, Phoebe promises to marry Silvius because Rosalind is not who she thought they were. Touchstone and Audrey also get married. It is then revealed that Duke Frederick has had a religious experience and is becoming a monk, leaving all of the wealth and land to Duke Senior. After the wedding, everybody leaves except for Rosalind.

Amiens, the singer.

The Epilogue

The actor playing Rosalind – E.M. Williams – addresses the audience, thanking them for enjoying the play.