It is a love story in which double cross dressing is involved.
17-year-old Max Kendal has a “heart” and a “soul”. His girlfriend Iris Farley is his “heart”; his passion for theatre is his “soul”. However, the not-very-tall (5’6), slightly-built Max is seldom cast in any significant roles…
Life gets better when Max is cast as Touchstone in “As You Like It”. He diligently rehearses his role and ends up practicing all the other parts in the play (including the female ones). When the day of the final show is close; the actress who was cast as Rosalind meets with a traffic accident and has to be hospitalized. Her understudy, Kate White, proves to be quite useless as a performer
The desperate play director casts Max as Rosalind. Iris is upset to see Max dressed as Rosalind and breaks up with him. Playing Rosalind for many years brings about many changes in Max. He/she eventually lands up in London and becomes known as stage actress “Delilah Kendal”.
Delilah’s emotional life is barren. Will she ever find love again?
As You Like It
Chapter 1 – Heart and Soul
I was 16 when I found my heart. Her name was Iris Farley and she was the only daughter of a wealthy boat construction merchant. The blonde, leggy Goddess had joined my grammar school only that year and ours was love at first sight.
Iris and I spent our study-time, snogging. We skipped classes and engaged in what we shouldn’t be engaging in. However, when love is young and its intentions amorous, such things are meant to be. Sex is a law of nature that no one can resist.
Iris couldn’t have loved me for my beauty. I was a frail, freckled youth with a mop of red hair over my head. At 5’8, my sinewy girlfriend was two inches taller than me.
She couldn’t have liked me for my wealth. I practically had none. My parents had died when I was little, leaving me in care of a beefy, good-humored aunt who worked as a chef in one of the ever busy restaurants in town.
Iris lived in a huge mansion on Sheep Street, while I lived in a humble shack in the same area. Most of mine and Iris’s carnal encounters occurred in my shack, when my Aunt Esme was away.
When I wasn’t shagging my “heart”, I was immersed in my soul. And my soul was theatre. I was a part of a drama troupe called Histrionics United which staged both, archaic and contemporary plays. However, most of all, we staged all plays of Shakespeare.
Ever since I was born, I considered Shakespeare my God. I considered myself blessed to live in the place of his birth and had devoted myself to studying Shakespeare’s work my entire life. I had read and re-read his plays so many times that I was aware of his recurring themes. Shakespeare’s themes revolved around quest for power, sudden irrational love, fickleness, physical and emotional conflicts, reality and unreality, order and disorder and guilt and sin. The motifs of his plays often revealed the good and bad outcomes of deception. Right deception led to social peace, while wrong deception led to conflict and distrust. The different sorts of deception occurred due to a character’s personality traits.
In spite of my deep study of Shakespeare, profound knowledge of his themes and the ability to easily deliver the dialogue of any Shakespearean character, I seldom got a meaningful role. At 5’6, I was too short to play the hero. My face was thin and pale; the casting directors didn’t think I had enough charisma to be awarded the role of the hero’s cousin or best friend even. In spite of my talent, I had to be content playing the postal worker, errand boy or some other “blink-and-you-will-miss” role in theatre. I spent the rest of my time helping with backstage work like lighting, sounds et al.
My joy knew no bounds when my theatre director, Isaac Barlow, announced that we were going to stage “As You Like It”. It was one of my favorite Shakespeare comedies full of banishment, disguise, treachery and love. I probably wouldn’t get a role in the play, but I was still excited. The prominent male characters in “As You Like It” were the Orlando-the hero, Adam-his man servant, the good duke and the bad duke, Touchstone-the court jester and the old and the young shepherd. Histrionics United already had a number of talented actors, so I felt that I would be overlooked this time also like so many times in the past.
It was then that I got the surprise of my life. In his deep fruity voice, Isaac announced that I was awarded the role of Touchstone, the court jester of the kingdom. Touchstone was the loyal jester who accompanies the heroine Rosalind and her cousin Celia to Forest Arden, when the former was banished from her uncle’s kingdom and decides to join her father (the noble banished duke). I was overjoyed at the prospect of playing the loyal clown. Touchstone had some witty scenes with the ladies and scenes in which he intimately converses with a young shepherdess.
I wasn’t the hero of the play, but I was over the moon! At last, I had been granted a significant role in Histrionics United!
The casting of Rosalind was finalized too. The role went to Janice White, an experienced actress in our group. Janice was in her late 20s; I personally thought she was a bit too old to play the role of Rosalind, but still Isaac had made the right decision in casting her. Janice had an admirable grip over her facial expressions and bodily movements. Her effortless performances made her the natural choice of any casting director.
The role of Celia was given to Zoe Chester, a pixyish brown-haired 19 year old girl. Standing only 5’4 tall; Zoe was really petite and a good actress. However, she had lost a meaty role in the past because of her unprofessionalism—Zoe had routinely turned up late on the sets, reeking of alcohol. She had also tried to pick a quarrel with a co-actor. Isaac had evidently forgotten about the incident and had decided to give Zoe a chance.
“Good for her” I thought “everyone deserves a second chance”.
I went home and found Iris waiting for me in my shack. She looked irresistibly sexy in her short cropped top and neon pink mini-skirt. Her heart-shaped face lit up when she saw me. She rushed to me and smothered me in one of her famous bear hugs.
I hugged Iris back. She smelled of peaches, cream and everything nice. Iris pulled away after a while and peered into my face. “You’re absolutely glowing!” she observed “what’s up?”
“Histrionics United is staging its first season ‘As You Like It’” I said beaming “and guess what, I bagged the role of Touchstone!”
“No kidding?! Congratulations!!” said Iris hugging me again. Joy emanated from every pore of her body. My loving girlfriend was delighted for me. I was thrilled and found myself growing hard.
Iris felt my erect and guided me to bed. She said the rest of her congratulations between the sheets, in a manner that I liked. After a lusty half an hour session, Iris left me alone to do my home work.
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