The way in which the voice is used throughout the various drafts of the film to merge gender boundaries, and to transcend the traditional, biological limitations of a character's sex.
'We see his face, half smothered in the fabric, trying to breathe without moving too much.' The idea of smothering here implies a vocal repression, historically associated with the female voice. Here, the repressed voice belongs to Orlando, who is currently male. This represents the idea of masculinity being as restrictive a social concept as femininity.
As a woman in this image, Orlando is surrounded by white sheets, covering the furniture behind her. The way in which the sheets shroud the furniture could represent the intensified nature of her character’s repression as a woman, linking symbolically to the repression of her voice already hinted at in the stage directions, when Orlando is still a man.
'ORLANDO starts to say something but stops himself'. In traditional culture, the man is represented to create a female lack of speech, and yet here, the male character represses his own voice. This could link to Orlando's ambiguous sexuality. As a man, he silences his own voice, his own voice being partly female. Or, perhaps the gender of the repressed voice is here irrelevant, and it is the repression itself that holds significance, linking to the idea of merged gender boundaries. This extract is absent from the finished screenplay, which is perhaps more celebratory of Orlando's vocal freedom?
Orlando speaks directly to the camera. The presentation of a vocal freedom, liberation from the constraints of the traditional fourth wall in Hollywood cinema. Orlando's connection with the audience frees him from the limitations of his own narrative. The film frees him from restriction in a way that his society cannot.
'ORLANDO'S voice fades as he stares first into the middle distance and then at SASHA.' Sasha's presence silences Orlando in a complete gender reversal of vocal power and influence. This is also absent from the finished screenplay. Neither gender is presented to influence the vocality of the other in the completed film, which promotes the freedom of oneself, through oneself as oppose to through outside influence.
EUPHROSYNE: 'My lord, I must speak with you'. In contrast, this example illustrates traditional gender roles, the female requesting the male's permission to speak. The fact that this relationship is a failure within the film could comment upon the outdated/unsuccessful nature of patriarchy. However, this is problematic, as Sasha's relationship with Orlando is also a failure. The film is promoting gender equality rather than a dominant matriarchal or patriarchal society. In the finished screenplay, Euphrosyne does not ask for Orlando's permission to speak. The final script frees her from the binds of gender eqtiquette and restriction.
‘It seems we are all looking for or creating a new vocabulary to express the necessary ideas about ourselves as women without resorting to the old jargon. The attempt often feels like skirting the issues, but more often like part of the process of transformation from naming ourselves as victims of oppression to gradually, slowly taking real power’ .
‘Virginia Woolf’s entire thesis concerns the material base which creates “women’s consciousness” and the historical limitation of women’s vision’. Virginia Woolf acknowledges the systematic repression of women’s voices, whilst providing hope for the future of female expression: ‘When she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry…’.
‘Each person’s emancipation is through themselves, and the story of Orlando is somebody who is both a man and a woman. It’s the story of the liberation of man from the constraints of masculinity, as much as it’s the story of a liberation of a woman away from the constraints of femininity. And what it says is that both of those identities are a trap and a prison, and that inside the prison is a human being, and that both men and women share that common human essence together infinitely more and more closely than they have differences.’