Article

Victoria, the other characters

Production
Dulcinea Langfelder & Co

To complement videos around Victoria by Dulcinea Langfelder, the company offers four short texts on themes that deepen our understanding of the piece.

THE WHEELCHAIR

 

MEANING

At first glance one thinks “immobility” but, in fact, it is quite the opposite; a brilliant invention that allows the mobility of Victoria’s body and mind.

FUN FACT

During the creation of Victoria, Dulcinea was invited to audition for the publicity of a fast-food chain. They wanted a comic tango dancer and the casting agent had seen La Voisine, a play in which Dulcinea dances a flamenco pastiche. Arriving at the audition, she sees the choreographer…  and recognizes the man who, at the tango salon, was her professor…

and who, therefore, knew her real (and very low) level of expertise!  He shows her the steps to do and directs her to a studio so she can rehearse. There, in this room, she sees a wheelchair…  and uses it as a tango partner. She did not get the publicity contract, but much better; her partner still accompanies her today!

© Viktoria Bobovskaia

THE STRING

 

MEANING

Victoria puts a string around her finger to try and not forget something very important.

FUN FACT

A small string, as an accessory, is easily lost or… forgotten! In Victoria, the string is found on her finger when the Orderly breaks the thread of the shawl she has unraveled and surrounded on her hand. It is a delicate operation, which does not always work, and Dulcinea obviously finds herself in trouble if the string is not on her finger at the time when she must refer to it. Yes, it has already happened.

 

MINOUCHKA, THE CAT

 

MEANING

When you lose your memory, you also sometimes lose your sense of ‘self’ and lose your libido. To illustrate this relationship between sexual drive, the sense of one’s identity as an individual and memory, Victoria is constantly looking for her Minouchka. And it is not a cat, but her pussy; the double meaning is well intentioned.

FUN FACT

During a tour in France, Dulcinea met a young woman who was doing a PhD on various facets of dementia. She directly commented on the clever use of the cat to express the loss of libido… so there is at least one person who has understood it without much help!

In addition, we had a lot of fun filming Minouchka, the adorable black cat who accompanied Dulcinea for 22 beautiful years. Her death was very sad news for the whole team that learned about it during a tour of Belgium. That night, Dulcinea and Eric had a hard time playing without crying the scene called “Your car is dead”.

THE DOLL

 

MEANING

We very often see dolls in caregiving places for people who lose their memory.  Dulcinea often noticed the great discomfort felt when you no longer know who the person in front of you is. However, the doll, we know that it is a doll. She looks like a person, but she never judges, has no expectations and creates no discomfort. The doll is thus an unparalleled companion!

FUN FACT

The dialogue of the doll scene originated from a discussion between Dulcinea and her niece, Natasia, who was then 5 years old. Sitting outside, Natasia asks her aunt, “When I’m your age, will you be old?” Taking a reassuring look, Dulcinea begins to respond while quickly doing the calculation, and… euh… oh!  Tearing up, she explains, pointing to the trees and plants around, that everyone needs to grow old… and die…  so that Life may continue.  And after a moment of silence, their smiles returned. Today, Natasia is indeed the same age as Dulcinea was at the time, but our definition of the word “old” changes over the years!

Created in 1999 for the stage, the work is transposed into a film in 2022. During 20 years of international touring, thousands of testimonials from all over have confirmed this; Victoria touches the viewer right in the heart and brings them a new capacity for tolerance.

 

Synopsis

 

Victoria, 90, has lost her memory. In her world, time does not exist; memories are as real as the present. A shadow of herself, Victoria is like a stage performer who’s forgotten her role; a kind of puppet, adapting herself to comic, dramatic and poetic situations as they present themselves. The orderly that takes care of her seems at times to be a friend, an adversary, her father, son, brother, lover… while her wheelchair becomes her rocking chair, her prison, her tango partner and even a flying chariot that takes away her last breath.

Projects

Victoria: how it all began

Co-production

Dulcinea Langfelder created Victoria in 1999—a dance piece about old age, vulnerability and cognitive decline. It has been presented in fifteen countries and eight languages, and is still available for touring today. To pay tribute to the work and the issues it raises, Dulcinea Langfelder…

Events

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