Orchid Receipt Service by Corinne Donly will receive its world premiere this October at MITU580 in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The production will be directed by Rad Pereira, with a cast led by Asia Kate Dillon (whose MIRROR/FIRE productions is the producer). All donations to this campaign are tax deductible.
Orchid Receipt Service is a true story told by the subconscious. Chronicling two years' worth of dreams-really-dreamt, the play follows the relationship of Monte and Davey--two transmasculine people in their late twenties--as they drift into and beyond a breakup. By documenting the playwright’s dream-attempts to make a parting real, Orchid Receipt Service offers a record of the stages and symbols that a psyche moves through as it learns to let go of another.
THE ORIGIN STORY (from Corinne):
The script of Orchid Receipt Service begins with an inscription:
My ex-lover is a writer and also a bookbinder. We never collaborated, except in this sense: On one of my birthdays, he made me the gift of a big blank book. It was the color of gold, and it really was enormous. I loved it. I took it everywhere. I used it to record my dreams. Most of the dreams, it turned out, were dreams about him. We stopped dating on January 11, 2015, but I continued the dreaming. For a long long time after, dreams mostly of him and to him. And then, eventually, other dreams too.
As this inscription indicates, the dreams that are adapted into Orchid Receipt Service span a period both leading up to, and in the long wake of, a breakup.
Although I recorded my dreams diligently every morning for years, it wasn’t until completing the journal and returning to the dreams that I was able to discern recurrent structures, characters, and motifs within them. This became a point of fascination for me: Although I hadn’t actually been in communication with my former lover, the dreams enacted a different reality entirely, wherein not only the two of us but all of our friends were able to meet up and work through “what happened," eventually finding forgiveness. It occurred to me that these dreams were the very thing that had made healing possible, allowing me to release the relationship without releasing the love that had sustained it. And it was my interest in this subconscious healing process that became the inspiration forOrchid Receipt Service.
If Orchid Receipt Service belongs to any genre, it is dream-documentary theatre. My project in writing this play was to hew as closely as possible to the dreams as they really occurred, allowing them to become, in and of themselves, a sort of surrogate reality. The result is a play that can be approached either as an artifact--that is, as a record of what healing looked like within my particular psyche (in all of its embarrassing detail)--or as an autonomous portrait of a queer community. In any case, the play is written for a TGNC and queer audience: It feels no obligation to educate or to explain itself, nor does it offer a “rosy” uncomplicated portrayal of TGNC relationships.
ANOTHER ORIGIN STORY (from Asia):
Despite being rooted in a past romance, this play is a surprisingly personal one for me and Corinne. After dating briefly in 2008, Corinne and I fell out of touch for several years. We didn’t connect again until early 2017, when Corinne approached me about performing in the first-ever public reading of Orchid Receipt Service at Brooklyn College (where Corinne was finishing their MFA in playwriting). Happily, I agreed, thereby inaugurating two separate but related projects: my renewed romantic relationship with Corinne and the development of their play.
A PLAY WORTH PRODUCING (from Asia):
Since that first Brooklyn College reading, Orchid Receipt Service has had showings in the Bushwick Starr’s Reading Series and in the Rattlestick Theater’s Pride Plays. I have performed in every showing, and with each one, the same set of concerns has arisen: Because Orchid Receipt Service is adapted from 32 different dreams--represented onstage as 32 different scenes featuring 35 different characters--it is nothing short of epic in scope. Even casting the play requires a budget far higher than most small theaters can handle. And if you add the dream framework of the piece to that--e.g., locations that morph instantaneously, animals that appear from bureaus, etc.--you have a project that many have called “impossible” to produce.
Apart from my interest in Orchid Receipt Service as an actor, I have felt compelled also to make the "impossible" possible and to produce it. In fact, the moment I finished reading Orchid Receipt Service for the first time, I knew that I wanted my company, MIRROR/FIRE productions, to bring it to life. MIRROR/FIRE's goal is to support work that centers and uplifts historically marginalized and disenfranchised people. The fact that this play is written for a TGNC and queer audience, and requires a large TGNC cast, excited me immediately, as it aligns directly with the company's goal. And on a more personal note: the central realization of this play, that we can still hold someone in love while also letting them go, moved my heart considerably.
I have now committed my company to giving Orchid Receipt Service its first full production in October of this year. With enormous good fortune, I was able to sign on my longtime friend, the fearless and community-minded Rad Pereira, to direct the play, as well as the ingenuitive John Del Gaudio to assist in producing it. Rad, John, Corinne, and I are now full steam ahead in making Orchid Receipt Service a reality.
IMPOSSIBLE, YOU SAY?
Here are just a few of the things that make Orchid Receipt Service an enormous undertaking:
- A cast of 35 characters! (To be played by 15 actors!)
- A script that is three acts and 180 pages long (i.e., a runtime typically reserved for the plays of dead white men)!
- Set changes that happen instantaneously!
- Stage directions that loom large! For instance:
- A lizard eating a rabbit!
- Yeah, we said it: A lizard eating a rabbit!
In order to “solve” all of these theatrical challenges, we’re assembling a team of brilliant TGNC theatre-makers. We are, of course, keenly aware of the difficulties and threats faced by the TGNC community on a daily basis in this country, and we are committed to creating a play that is not only about queer community but that also generates, celebrates, and upifts it. Our TGNC actors, designers, and production staff are eager to contribute to a process that will center their voices and experiences. It is for this reason, above all, that we feel Orchid Receipt Service needs to happen right now.
AND WHERE DOES YOUR $$$ GO?
Just as we aim to create queer community within the rehearsal room, we are aware that such community will only become possible with the help of a MUCH LARGER online community. That’s where you come in. If you believe that TGNC stories deserve to be told by TGNC people, then we ask that you contribute to our cause.
We are seeking supporters to make TAX DEDUCTIBLE donations towards paying all the actors, designers, and crew members who will work on this show (we’ll feature several of our team members in the coming weeks). Our budget for personnel is over $50K (can we say stretch goal?!) and comprises more than two-thirds of our entire budget, which also includes sets, costumes, rental fees, and much much more.
As you can see, we have set our Kickstarter goal far lower than the amount we actually need to raise, but we hope to exceed expectations and PAY THESE AMAZING HUMANS AS MUCH AS WE CAN!
AND WHO ARE WE?
- Corinne Donly, Writer
- Asia Kate Dillon, Actor & Producer
- Rad Pereira, Director
- Eli Reid, Production Manager & Technical Director
- John Del Gaudio, Producer
Plus.... SO MANY MORE people! At this very moment, we are in the process of assembling our cast and design teams. Stay tuned for announcements in the coming weeks!
NOW LET’S TAP INTO THAT DREAM JOURNAL. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND FEARS?
For this piece? Our hope is quite simple: to share this piece with you and to lift up our TGNC community.
Our fears? We’re choosing not to dwell on those. We love this play and are committed to making it happen. We trust in our ability to take care of every single person who enters our rehearsal room.
Our fears for this world, however, are substantial. So if you want to know how we are trying to channel our fears into action, we recommend that you visit these sites and give however you can to organizations that are doing incredible and necessary work:
- www.gofundme.com/trans-people-will-never-be erased/donate
We would also like to respectfully acknowledge that the land on which we live, and work, is the unceded territory of the Lenape people. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Lenape community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. This acknowledgment recognizes the Indigenous peoples who have been dispossessed from their homelands and territories, and demonstrates our commitment to the process of working to dismantle the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.
Risks and challenges
We recognize that there's a bit of a "race against the clock" mentality for this project, and we oh so appreciate you helping us to run the race.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)