ORLAND VERDÚ (Spain, 1982).
International artist of movement and physical theatre. Actor, director and playwright. Dancer and choreographer of butoh dance. Researcher of the symbols and images of the Tarot. Humanist creator, rebel student and intuitive teacher.
He takes his first steps in theatre as a young child. At age 9, he writes, directs and features in his first performance, where he plays a magician. From this date onwards, his life is guided to the creation of new worlds, either by words, acting or imagery.
His fascination with the ability of the actor to metamorphose leads him to move from dramatic literature to acting. At age 25, he moves to Barcelona to study physical theatre at the Escuela Laboratorio, where he ends up rebelling against his director under the character of Fortimbras. The first group he creates, in 2012, is called ONNAGATA, with which he plays the solo of MADAME HO LEE (Ed. Carena), a masterpiece as a playwright and interpreter that impacts the public with an analysis of child prostitution.
This group is followed by the founding of his company ORACLES TEATRE (2013-2018), which takes its name from the work Oráculos by director Enrique Vargas, for whom he worked as an actor/inhabitant during 2012-13. In this work, based on the Tarot, he learns and delves into the language of symbols, anthropology, sensory poetics and the creation of dramatic textures, adding knowledge to his background in the psychology of myth and archetypes.
ORACLES TEATRE allows him to launch his first work as a director: DIÀLEGS DE DALT I DE BAIX (Ed. Onada), with which he is awarded the VIII Prize Teatre Ciutat de Sagunt. Metaphysical and philosophical work, the book is based on the reading of Pier-Paolo Passolini's text Orgy and is inspired by the myth of Plato's cave.
From this attempt to create a theatre of ideas, he begins to investigate completely unknown territory: butoh dance. The body and the metaphysics of instinct. At 30, he discovers butoh by the hand of the dancer and choreographer Atsushi Takenouchi. If the soul exists, dance is its expression. Since then he has not ceased to investigate and reach beyond his limits. 'Mitoh' is the Japanese name that master Mushimaru Fujieda to his dance, meaning 'step into the unknown'. Among the first butoh dance works he choreographs are NOSTALGIA (2015), PANDORA (2016) and DUNSINANE (2016).
In the end, the thought of Nietzsche contained in The Birth of Tragedy drives him to travel to Japan in search of the roots of the butoh dance and the Dionysian essence of Greek theatre. On his return to Barcelona, he founds, as director, the ORACLES THEATRE/STUDIO space, which opens to the public in 2017 as a centre for performing arts research in movement, bringing artists such as Natsu Nakajima to its opening. As a theatre and music bar, with time the centre becomes a renowned independent space in the underground scene of Barcelona, situated in the neighbourhood of Poble Sec, and being the first host of the Catalan edition of the Iberian Butoh Festival ALMA NEGRA.
The summer of 2017 is one of great political and social instability in Catalonia as a result of the terrorist attacks and the independence process. Conscious of the historical moment, he decides to bring butoh dance onto the streets in his struggle for freedom. On August 18th he organises 1000 I UNA FLORS: Marxa per la Pau, a long butoh march with flowers and songs in defence of peace, on the Ramblas in Barcelona. On September 22nd he launches another urban intervention, now in defence of the right to vote in the Catalan referendum for independence: A LA TARDOR, ELS RÈGIMS CAUEN. On this occasion, the actors - dressed in black or white - collected leaves from the ground and deposited them in a ballot box.
ORLAND VERDÚ displays his wings as a creator, actor and dancer at ORACLES THEATRE between 2017 and 2018 with his own repertoire of works. As director and performer, he stars in TRUC O TRACTE? (XVII Evarist García Theatre Award) together with the interpreter Natalia Bravo; as well as the popular and enigmatic HYDE CABARET, in which he explores the otherness of Artaud through Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Hyde and the story of three women: Mariela Roi, Ariana Cárdenas & Lucía Callén.
In butoh dance, he reinterprets literary classics from a contemporary, political and personal perspective. He deconstructs butoh and reinterprets it in his own way. He presents THE METAMORPHOSIS (2017) in the Sala Beckett, and QUASIMODO (2017) in the Church of Santa Madrona (Barcelona), with music by the opera composer Keiko Fujiie, one of his great collaborators and muses. With QUASIMODO he pioneers in bringing butoh theatre and dance into a Catholic church. The work becomes iconic and is presented also at the alternative centre Konvent 0 in Berga.
These are followed by the works ÍCARO: The Last Flight (2018) and HAMELIN: The Flautist and the Rats (2018), solos of an undoubted artistic and personal maturity where he combines his combative and fierce philosophical theatre, with the transformation and the magic of butoh. In these works he seeks his own dance and rebels against any attempt at classification and scenic comparison.
His latest work, with the composer Keiko Fujiie, is NAGASAKI - Wilderness Mute (Natura Morta), the first version of which was shown in February 2018 at the monastery of Sant Pau in Barcelona, the oldest church in the city. NAGASAKI is a butoh dance solo with music by Keiko Fujiie and video projection by Toni Casassas: a work created from the story of the protagonists of the atomic bombing. NAGASAKI travels to the US in September 2018, commissioned by the University of Antioch (Ohio), and backed by the United Nations.
Orland Verdú is also a graduate in Catalan Philology from the University of Alicante (2004) and Master in Creative Writing from the Pompeu Fabra University (2010). As a teacher he has been associated with the University of Barcelona and worked in institutes and schools.
He is currently travelling, acting and giving courses in butoh dance, dramatic art, writing and symbology in different countries of the world. He is vital in leading other artists and companies to find their own creative potential, by deepening their personal understanding in order to uncover their own origianl sense of movement and dramatic expression. He inspires them to discover their own myth ('story/tale' in its original Greek meaning), in each step of their way.
His next stage adventure?
PINOCCHIO: The Birth of the Actor!