Holding up a mirror to oneself is never an easy task, but it’s one that Lucy Roslyn undertakes with a certain poise that can immediately be respected. Debuting at the Vault Festival in Waterloo, Roslyn’s one-woman show Orlando debates identity, society, fear and love in a flurry of random thought, personal reflection and admirable conviction.
Roslyn begins her performance by forgetting how to begin her performance, and she reveals this to the audience as she immediately breaks the fourth wall. She is quite transparent in her thought-process, and engages with the spectators significantly throughout the 60-minute play. Whether or not these awkward but captivating moments are a part of the act is a question that we find ourselves asking again at different times throughout the show.
She then explains that she is going to give the audience a breakdown of her favourite novel, Orlando, written by Virginia Woolf. The book was an imaginative biography covering a span of more than 400 years in which the protagonist, a wealthy, often vicious Elizabethan nobleman, becomes a woman. The character was said to have been written in the image of Woolf’s lover, Vita, in a narrative exploring the fluidity of sexuality that was well ahead of its time. Roslyn juxtaposes Orlando‘s musings to her own lost love, a married woman that continuously denies her as “just a phase”.
In between a rough and sporadic explanation of the contents of the book, Roslyn takes on many roles. The awkward, almost self-sabotaging character that forgot her intro, a heart-broken star-crossed lover and the strong yet desolate bisexual who refuses societal labels. She even conjures Orlando himself as she ties her hair back, lights a cigarette and delivers several haunting monologues.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea at first glance, but for many of those who have struggled with identity and the strive to keep up with society’s many dysfunctions, something will surely be gained after seeing Orlando. Roslyn proves that she is a storyteller at heart, and despite there being no real plotline or chain of events, the performer wholly engrosses the audience in a way that is difficult to do in a society obsessed with Netflix shows and cinematic productions.
Orlando is at the Pit from 20th until 24th February 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.