Orlando

Katie Mitchell (Other), Lily McLeish (Other), Virginia Woolf (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

Abstract

In a version of Alice Birch

A heroine who is born a hero; or a hero who becomes a heroine – does it even matter? Orlando experiences four centuries of British and European human history. He lives at the court of Elizabeth I; falls tragically in love with a Russian princess at the fabled banquet on the frozen River Thames during the reign of James I; dabbles in writing; becomes Charles II’s ambassador to Constantinople. He returns to Great Britain a woman, writes, throws parties in the enlightened 18th century, loves men and women, both prostitutes and nobles and, in the buttoned-up Victorian era, marries a man. Man or woman, does Orlando even have to decide? Orlando witnesses how people, nature, systems and reigns are in a constant state of flux; and how customs, habits and ideas of how a man or a woman should behave are constantly being modified, as well as what is right and what is wrong, what an artist should write about and what a woman is allowed to think about. Orlando experiences how the weather and the political climate change, how desire and gender roles develop. Orlando sees people who take for nature what is actually man-made.

In her biography of Orlando, Virginia Woolf describes a life that undermines every rigid category with ease and artistic freedom, imbuing them with new meaning or presenting them as fluid. She playfully interweaves life and art, reality and fiction into a visionary work and creates one of literary history’s most dazzling heroines whose overabundance of identities leapfrogs any narrow definition or rigid categorisation.

In a production combining performance on stage with live video, Katie Mitchell and Alice Birch explore Orlando’s queer journey through various centuries of the patriarchal history of humankind.
Original languageGerman
Place of PublicationSchaubühne Berlin
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2019

Cite this