Orlando. Biografie (Orlando. Biographies)

  • 2022 – ongoing
  • Teatr Powszechny, Warsaw
  • Photos: Magda Hueckel
  • The show is dedicated to Joanna Wichowska

Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above.

Virginia Woolf

Despite all that, in 2022 politicians are still trying to forcefully remove the people who don’t confirm to the norms: five months before the invasion on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said that being transgender is “almost a crime against humanity”, in Hungary there is a ban for “homosexual propaganda”, in Poland there are “LGBT free zones”.

Can similar attempts succeed? The show that uses the novel Orlando (1928) and a movie based on it (1992) as its base is trying to face the embarrassment, reluctance, and hatred towards being different. In a journey through centuries, lives, and experiences of cisgender, trans-, and non-binary artists invited to join the project, we ask: is being different really as rare as we think it is? And maybe each of us is different in their own way? Isn’t every transformation and transition we go through in life being different?

Do you really know who you are? Are binary divisions the answer to today’s threats? And maybe in this difference there is a promise of fun, revolution, and… a new, better order and world?

One of the performers, Filipka Rutkowska, reflecting on the work wrote:

Orlando is a love of change.
Orlando is a value worth taking care of.
‘It’ is Orlando.
Orlando is taking on different genders while still being the same person.
Orlando is experiencing the mystery of transition – and treating this transition as a source of knowledge.
Orlando is thinking about the birth of a new mind by using old thoughts and then reminiscing about the thoughts that are already gone.
Orlando is the acceptance of losing a part of yourself and the readiness to get a new one.
Orlando is the curiosity of the world.
Orlando is a simultaneous loneliness among people and finding understanding amongst them.
Orlando is entering a new state of focus, without knowing the laws that rule this state.
Orlando is going to the other side of your own reflection.
What stays the same in a person after transitioning?

Text: Filipka Rutkowska

Klara Bielawka
Arkadiusz Brykalski
Anu Czerwiński
Karolina Kędziora vel Wyrodna
Katarzyna Kozyra
Pepe Le Puke
Lulla-Andrzej Szwan
Maria Robaszkiewicz
Filipka Rutkowska

Director – Agnieszka Błońska

Dramaturgy – Olga Byrska

Dramaturgy consultations – Krysia Bednarek and team; Joanna Wichowska [R.I.P.]

Texts – Krysia Bednarek, Agnieszka Błońska, Olga Byrska, Anu Czerwiński, Lulla La Polaca, Pepe Le Puke, Filipka Rutkowska, Virginia Woolf
set design and costumes – Katarzyna Kozyra, Arek Ślesiński

Video – Anu Czerwiński
set design objects – Leopold Szewczak, Adam Daab, Bożena Zaremba, Renzo Parenti
DJ set – Karolina Kędziora vel Wyrodna
music selection – Karolina Kędziora vel Wyrodna, Pepe Le Puke, Lulla La Polaca

Lighting director – Artur Sienicki

Director’s assistant – Krysia Bednarek

Stage manager – Bazhena Shamovich, Barbara Sadowska