After the final workshop on Tuesday 14th April for The Orchae I’ve completed the next draft. I’ve even begun sending it out into the world (see below for synopsis)!
I invited Ray Omodei to attend the reading, as he had been informally involved in the early stages of the play’s development, and was unable to attend the Stage 2 reading.
During this workshop nothing really major was highlighted, which I took as validation of the whole process and they way we had collectively interrogated the script. This doesn’t mean further changes are unnecessary if it goes into production, but it seems that the script is in a pretty good shape.
One thing I didn’t achieve was a new title for the play. As much as I like The Orchae (a play on words with The Bacchae and Orchid) I don’t think is a very easy word to read/say. As Ray said, imagine a member of the public trying to book a ticket over the phone – how would they feel trying to say it? 🙂 If anyone has ideas please let me know!
I expect I’ll continue to do minor edits but I’m happy with this draft at the moment.
A short synopsis is here, FYI:
“The future: in a conservation area in the West Australian bush, five years into the future, Jim launches the book on Orchids begun by his wife, Jasmine, before her tragic death. As he reads a poem dedicated to her, time and place slip into memory and imagination…
The present: Jasmine prepares to leave for a field survey. Jim comes home from work, bringing with him an unusual perfume…
Jasmine is looking for the elusive Western Underground Orchid. This plant grows and flowers hidden below the ground and is critically endangered. It is found in only two locations in the world, one of them on Shane Baxter’s farm near the Western Australian wheat belt town of Merredin.
Shane Baxter, a wheat farmer, tries to clear his debts by taking in farm stay guests. His son, Will, returns home from his fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) job at a mine site, hiding addictions, secrets and resentment. He is appalled by his father’s attempts to earn extra income in this way, and by his refusal to clear more land. Will objects to the idea of saving the Western Underground Orchid if it doesn’t help the farm to survive. Taking matters into his own hands, he tries to scare Jasmine away, but with tragic consequences.
The past: history slips from the present to George, a Nineteenth Century plantsman struggling to stay alive without food and water in the WA outback where he is collecting plants. He was a plant collector working for Charles Fraser, the Government’s Botanist. Fraser is writing his infamous report on the soil of Western Australia; a document that hides the real problems settlers will face when they settle the new Swan River Colony in WA. Back in Kew Gardens, London, Queen Charlotte is fascinated by Kangaroos and all things Australian. But the renowned scientists, Sir Joseph Banks and Sir James Smith, find science is contested territory, affected by finance, politics and fainting women.
The future: after five years Jim finally decides to publish his wife’s book of orchid illustrations and now the book is launched. Jim is now in a new relationship with Josie, a former colleague of Jasmine’s, who wears an unusual perfume.”

One comment on “Drafted!

  1. jules says:

    Well done. Sounds interesting Viv. I agree about the name change as I was struggling with my pronunciation of Orchae, wondering if it was a word I should know!

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