In 1928, the British author Virginia Wolf published her novel ORLANDO – A BIOGRAPHY, shattering all the norms established around the theme of masculinities and femininities in society at the time.
The story begins in an English royal court in the 16th century, in which the eponymous protagonist leads a privileged life as a favourite of Elizabeth I. When her love for him ceases, a brilliant journey through time is set in motion, during which Orlando kisses the frozen Thames in the Little Ice Age, flees from a persistent admirer to the politically turbulent Constantinople, and falls into a sleep which lasts several days – at the end of which he suddenly wakes up as a young woman. “Lady” Orlando is hardly surprised by this transformation, secretly leaves Constantinople and continues the eventful journey through the ages.
Virginia Woolf’s narrative extends from the 16th Century to the author’s present day and even a few days beyond. The change in the role of “woman” and “man” over the course of time lies at the centre of the text. The director, Lucia Bihler, together with the dance company ‘Ballet of Difference’ transports the novel to the Depot 1 stage. Together, they dive into the binary gender system and, like Virginia Wolf, aim to dismantle it and create a new perspective.