The-Cast-of-Orlando-photo-by-3-Fates-MediaA new electro-folk musical, adapted from the novel by Virginia Woolf, Antipodes Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Orlando at fortyfivedownstairs, this November.

A noble poet falls asleep a man, wakes up a woman, and lives for over 300 years in this seminal satirical work exploring sexuality and gender.

Orlando dances through life, existing with mercurial ease outside of binaries and social norms. It is a charismatic love story of transformation, gender euphoria, and a celebration of the constantly evolving self.

Within Orlando, Virginia Woolf creates a world in which queer people live in peace, love wins, and the soul thrives.

Antipodes Theatre Company’s Orlando is not a faithful by-the-book adaptation. A cast of five performers – Marty Alix, Louie Dalzell, Manali Datar, Willow Sizer, and Kikki Temple – all play the title character as the piece deconstructs and explores the thematic through lines that make this work so timeless and relevant nearly a century after it was published.

“This will be Antipodes Theatre Company’s first original Australian work that we have seen through to production, following our first ever (now annual) Winter Lab for new work and bold ideas in 2020,” says Producer and Antipodes Artistic Director Brandon Pape.

“Willow Sizer and Rachel Lewindon were inspired by Woolf’s story to create a beautiful hybrid work that mixes folk songs, musical theatre, contemporary classical chamber music, and electronic ambient minimalism.”

“They have also prioritized radical empathy and agency in a highly collaborative approach with the cast and creative team, practices that we as a company want to offer any artist that works with us,” said Pape.

The inspirations for this work are vast, from the romance novels of Mills and Boon and the music of artists such as Caroline Shaw, Gustav Holst, Nils Frahm, Kate Neal, and Annie Lennox, to Madonna’s Eurovision performance and Beam Me Up Softboi’s Instagram account.

Orlando is like no other musical theatre or theatre piece,” says Lewindon, Green Room Award winner for her work on The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven. “It sits at the intersect of many live performance art genres, drawing inspiration from traditional theatre, experimental sonic art, and devised theatre to redefine the experience of ‘Musical Theatre’.”

“Audiences can expect an immersive world that heightens the introspection of Virginia Woolf’s already poignant text, bringing it into the contemporary world of 2023,” added Lewindon.

“Similar to getting lost in a book, the audience will have a sense of immersion into Orlando‘s world and mind,” says Sizer. “Like the novel, it’s surreal, sublime, and unexpected. We embrace and hold a loved and classic work while really pulling it apart.”

Director: Margot Fenley | Dramaturge/Director: Maude Davey | Featuring: Marty Alix, Louie Dalzell, Manali Datar, Willow Sizer, Kikki Temple | Musicians: Rachel Lewindon, Imogen Cygler | Movement Director: Belle Hansen | Set & Costume Designer: Bethany J Fellows | Sound Designer: Evan Drill | Lighting Designer: John Collopy | Casting & Cultural Consultant: Kuda Mapeza | Cultural Consultant: Chels Morgan | Stage Manager: Ashleigh Walwyn | Sound Operator: Rami Blowes | Artistic Director/Production Manager: Brandon Pape | New Work Manager/Producer: Cameron Steens

fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 3 – 11 November 2023 (preview: 2 November)
Information and Bookings: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com

Image: The Cast of Orlando – photo by 3 Fates Media