Mon. 12th Nov / Room 101, 12 University Sq. / 4pm / FREE
Orchids have always been thought of as beautiful but strange.
A wildflower guide in 1917 called them “our queer freaks”.
Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief
Following her rehearsed reading of Lachlan Philpott’s The Trouble With Harry at last year’s festival, director Alyson Campbell (Brunel University) delivers a paper that explores Philpott’s choice to give his main character, the cross-dressing female husband Eugenia Falleni (Harry), a love of orchids. Campbell identifies the analogies to be drawn between pseudocopulating orchids (who ‘pass’ as something other than they are in order to be fertilised) and the way female same-sex desire – not widely understood under the frame of ‘lesbian’ at that point – is portrayed in Falleni/Harry’s case as fraudulent and deceitful. What emerges are issues of class and race, inextricably bound up with the gender masquerade that passing entails.