“Orlando. Bloomsbury” is a theatrical landscape in which the novel’s plot interweaves with the life story of Virginia Woolf and her loved ones. Based on Woolf’s letters and diaries, the creators of the play have reconstructed a map of relationships between the figures in the Bloomsbury Group. The experience of metamorphosis binds the theatrical reality of “Orlando. Bloomsbury” Here we discover the transformations undergone over the years by a group of friends, and through the course of history by the eternally young, immortal Orlando, and the reality surrounding him. Changes are happening in Virginia herself, who is trying to write her way through waves of depression, experiencing what for her is a new and extraordinary love. The reception of her biography and work has also undergone a metamorphosis over the last hundred years, as best illustrated by the two most popular, mutually contradictory biographies.
Members of the Bloomsbury Group will meet on stage, and over three hours they will go through thirty years of their lives. Orlando/Orlanda will be summoned to life in a gesture of double theatricality—Virginia and her friends will play scenes from his/her history. This spectacular play with intersecting and detaching realities will be rounded off with an achingly relevant essay by Virginia Woolf about women’s professional work, which proves all too well that sometimes things that ought to change can long remain the same.
“Orlando: Bloomsbury,” a play “based on motifs from the life and work of Virginia Woolf,” was not meant to be purely biographical, of course. Yet it is undoubtedly evocative, and the remarkable temporality of this play and its poetic composition are seductive, making you surrender to the rhythms of the actions on stage. At times, when the images begin to prevail over the words flowing on stage, we can sense a special creativity, a fantasia on a world that has now vanished. “Nothing, I knew had any chance against death,” Woolf wrote in an essay recalled in the play, “Death of a Moth.” […] Of course, nothing has a chance against death—apart from memory and imagination.
Olga Katafiasz, Teatralny.pl
The script uses Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando” translated by Tomasz Bieroń, fragments of Virginia Woolf’s “Selected Essays” translated by Magda Heydel, “Congenial spirits. Selected Letters” translated by Maja Lavergne and Viviane Forrester’s “Virginia Woolf” in Maria Śledzianowska translation.