May 20, 2022: The Orchard Project (www.orchardproject.com) today announced its 2022 Lab programs as well as the names of participating artists and companies. The OP selected 38 projects or artistic teams from a competitive group of 1,417 applicants to participate in this year’s programs. This year includes the official launch of a new Orchard Project Adaptation Lab — supporting innovative adaptation works in playwriting, performance art, and transmedia dramatic storytelling — as well as the continuation of the OP’s existing labs supporting artists creating new work for theater, audio, and TV. The Orchard Project’s Performance Lab will transition back to in-person work in Saratoga Springs, NY, while other labs will be hybrid and split between virtual and workshops in NYC and Los Angeles, allowing the Orchard Project to accelerate the work of innovative playwrights, screenwriters, and theater companies from a breadth of geographic locales while keeping staff and artists safe during the ongoing pandemic.
“The performing arts world has unfortunately lost some of its greatest resources devoted to supporting new artists, project development, and encouraging creative risk taking over the past two years. During this time, the Orchard Project has worked tirelessly to meet our artists’ changing needs, and we are proud that — rather than shutting down or scaling back — we have actually increased our programs and are now supporting even more inventive artists and diverse voices. We are excited to embark on a year that mixes in-person residencies with hybrid labs — and we can’t wait to see what this wonderful group of artists creates.”
– Ari Edelson, Artistic Director
2022 ADAPTATION LAB
“This year’s inaugural OP Adaptation Lab will focus on performance projects from an aesthetically diverse cohort of artists working in playwriting, technology, and transmedia storytelling. Through their distinct voices, this group of artists expands the definition of adaptation by reinventing, recontextualizing, and cross-pollinating existing source materials, dramatic and beyond. For us, these six projects are united by their rigorous and transgressive artistic interrogations, which are baked into every project on a conceptual level.”
– Sam Max and Xiaoyue Zhang, Orchard Project Adaptation Lab Facilitators
- JESSE JAE HOON, ON THE CLOCK: Adapted from journalist Emily Guendelsberger’s gripping nonfiction account, On the Clock is a nonlinear nightmare that explores the unending mental torture of low-wage work in America.
- ADAM KASSIM AND MONA KASRA, DREAMING IN EXILE (WORKING TITLE): is an experimental adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Strindberg’s A Dream Play through the lens of modern-day Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) immigrants, which will incorporate digital and immersive media.
- SAM MAYER, poolboy3: the rat wife: poolboy00 is an obscure internet micro, micro celebrity. Ibsen is the father of realism. Both are fame hungry clout chasers with a terrible, explosive secret.
- DAN O’BRIEN, BORGES AND ME: A stage adaptation of Jay Parini’s acclaimed “novelistic memoir,” Borges and Me takes us back fifty years, when Parini finds himself driving the famed Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges on a tour of the Highlands.
- LIQING XU, SKINLESS: A re-imagination of the Chinese legend The White Snake as a queer gender-bending fairytale.
- GARRETT ZUERCHER, PHILOCTETES: Performed in a hybrid of spoken English and American Sign Language, this adaptation of Sophocles is radically framed through the lens of Deaf culture to provoke dialogue about Disability politics and cultural appropriation.
This inaugural lab will be facilitated by Sam Max and Xiaoyue Zhang.
2022 AUDIO LAB
“Specific formal investigations combined with rigorous examinations of the artists’ own personal histories unite our Audio Lab projects this year. These seven projects are ambitious and highly personal; many of them express an exciting irreverence toward a secure genre. Drawing on horror, autofiction, hybrid documentary, and children’s storytelling, the 2022 Audio Lab is throwing its focus on this wonderful array of women-identifying artists, selected on the basis of their daring artistic spirits and commitment to taking risks in Audio.”
– Sam Max
- BRITTANY CLEMONS, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD & HONEY: When an out-of-work journalist returns to her southern hometown to bury her grandmother, she inadvertently discovers her next story: a racialized murder that echoes an unsolved lynching from the town’s past. As she investigates, she uncovers a dark family secret rooted in the occult that may hold the answer to both murders.
- ALICE EVE COHEN, HOTEL LIMBO: The Belleclaire Hotel, Cohen’s home of many years, was transformed in 2020 into a homeless shelter, part of NYC’s plan to move people from crowded shelters to vacant hotel rooms to reduce the spread of COVID-19. HOTEL LIMBO is a family story of love and looming loss, an examination of a neighborhood in turmoil over housing the unhoused during a pandemic, and a dive into the history of affordable housing and homelessness. This work is adapted from a stage play of the same name, also penned by Cohen.
- ALEXA DERMAN, POSSESSION: A true crime podcast host sets out to investigate an infamous cult murder-suicide — but finds herself inescapably overtaken by its charismatic lesbian leader.
- MONIQUE HALL, UNTITLED KIDS’ PODCAST: 10-year-old Zeph Z. Zamora is used to being last; not just because his first, middle, and last names all begin with the letter Z, but because he’s not very good at anything. When an evil force begins taking over humanity in alphabetical order, Zeph, who is the literal last person standing, must figure out how to reverse the evil before it’s too late.
- AGATHA FRENCH, ROBINHOOD: After her father’s death, a daughter searches his favorite films for clues about him and the complexities of their relationship. A reported audio-essay on grief, devotion, and the limits of how well we can know the people we love best.
- KAUSAR MOHAMMAD AND SHIREEN ALIHAJI, PARALLELS: A supernatural anthology series that explores the Muslim identity within the context of horror and sci-fi. Using the Islamic concept of “jinn” as a manifestation of trauma, it explores what it means to exist as Muslim throughout time.
- KIM TRAN, DUSSY: Dussy is just a normal tween until her hair turns into venomous snake heads and she learns she can turn guys’ dicks into stone.
The Audio Lab will again be facilitated by Jerry Ruiz.
2022 EPISODIC LAB
“The 2022 Episodic Lab is filled with diverse themes, tones, and styles of writing. For all their differences, these scripts are united around themes of otherness, reclamation of experience, and self-discovery. We are thrilled to announce that of our twelve total projects, ten are from female-identifying writers and nine are from historically underrepresented voices – and the selected projects are also those that showed the most exceptional potential in story, character, and tone.”
– Maija Gustin and Jennifer Chamber, Episodic Lab Facilitators
- LEMIA MONET BODDEN, RHEINLAND: In 1936, a white passing Afro-German woman hides in an abusive marriage to a Nazi officer as she plans the rescue of Afro-German children from state-sanctioned sterilization and extermination.
- MICHI BROMAN, PALM BEACH ARCADE: When a venture capital executive inherits a hard-core porn store, she finds a sense of autonomy in building an adult entertainment empire.
- ELISE D’HAENE, IT AIN’T OVER: When a truth-telling, spitfire poet in her 70s faces a diagnosis of ALS, her fiercely protective older lesbian posse circle the wagons, questioning her younger lover’s ability to provide care for their beloved matriarch.
- EMILY DUKE, MIDDLE GENTRY: Socialite twins Weezy and Betsy go to 19th century Connecticut where they discover, to their horror, that their family was middle class.
- AMBER EFÉ, THE BOND: An invitation to join an exclusive secret society at an elite university is a dream come true for a former foster kid, but when tragedy befalls one of her new sisters, she’ll risk it all to uncover whodunit.
- DANIEL HIRSCH, SIR & I: When an adrift yet ambitious millennial takes a gig economy job as a mysterious European emigre’s butler, the two form a toxic, codependent and not not gay relationship that will have both of them emotionally and financially extorting the keyother and exorcising long-held secrets.
- MEHER JAFFRI, THE CHOSEN ONE: Based on the true story of Pakistani serial killer Javed Iqbal, alleged murderer of 100 young boys, The Chosen One chronicles the deeply intertwined elements of Pakistani society, culture, institutions, and politics that contributed to the creation of a monster.
- REGINA KIM, PARAMOUR: A Catholic nun discovers she’s pregnant and attempts to hide her affair with a married man by claiming it’s immaculate conception.
- MICHEL LICHLAND, CAMPAIGN: A group of former college friends are suddenly sucked into the world of the Dungeons & Dragons game they never finished in their youth.
- LORENA LOURENÇO, SULA AND I: Lili, a Latina immigrant, tries to keep her head above water as her uterus, Sula, pushes Lili to revolutionary ends that clash with the low profile an immigrant must keep in America.
- SAMINA SAIFEE, HOW TO LOVE A WILD THING: When a young Muslim woman returns to her small town after her sister’s miscarriage, she’s forced to reckon with the demons she left behind and confront the family she abandoned.
- ANA VERDE, DORADO: After the murder of a young Puerto Rican child, a town in the midst of gentrification is desperate to find the culprit, while the child’s family tries to shove it all under the rug and avoid island-wide media attention.
2022-2023 GREENHOUSE LAB
“This year’s cohort is made up of multidisciplinary artists who represent a wide range of practices and perspectives. The group encompasses artists whose work is strongly grounded in their communities, and who think deeply about how their work relates to the world around them. They are further united by a hunger for collaboration and community, a desire to learn from one another, and a willingness to interrogate themselves creatively.”
– Ramona Rose King, Greenhouse Lab Facilitator
- AMY CHIAO: a multimedia artist working in installation, performance, and design
- CAROLINA DO: an actor, writer, and community organizer interested in collective storytelling practices and intergenerational healing
- MIKE DURKIN: a multidisciplinary social practice performance artist
- BRIAN FREELAND: a director, writer, producer, and sound artist
- KAT MUSTATEA: a transmedia playwright and artist looking at art’s relationship to machines
- NIA AKILAH ROBINSON: a playwright and actor from Harlem, who dedicates herself to Black stories
- SOPH SAGAN-GUTHERZ: a writer and performer exploring gender, sexuality, and disability
- KAYODÈ SOYEMI: a writer, actor, and creator interested in generating and supporting ‘impossible works’
- GAVEN TRINIDAD: a dramaturg, playwright, and director advocating for empathetic representations of mental health on and off stage
- KATHERINE WILKINSON: a queer director, producer, and writer creating new ensemble-driven performances
The Greenhouse Lab will be facilitated by Ramona Rose King.
SARATOGA SPRINGS IN PERSON RESIDENCIES AND FESTIVAL
2022 marks a return of the Orchard Project’s in person residencies in Saratoga Springs, NY with a limited slate of projects slated for residencies at venue partners around Saratoga Springs.
In addition to the long-running annual Summer Labs, The Orchard Project will host the first annual Orchard Project Summer Festival, taking place Friday July 8 through Sunday July 10, 2022. The weekend’s lineup — to be announced in June — will include marquee cabarets, concerts, work-in-progress readings from projects in the OP’s In-Person Residencies, conversations on creativity, writing workshops, and more, from artists and thought leaders working at the height of their powers in their respective fields.
Saratoga Springs residencies include:
- ONCE UPON A TRA, written by Nelson Diaz-Marcano (NY), directed by Rebecca Aparicio (NY): A coming of age tale that relates the birth of Reggaeton with the decolonization of a whole generation of Puerto Ricans, celebrating Puerto Rico’s rich musical traditions while telling a story that explores how a whole generation decided to stop the assimilation and start the decolonization of their culture.
- THE DOUBLE[S]: Wolf at the Door Audio will be doing a reading of their new audio fiction podcast, THE DOUBLE[S], developed in the 2021 Orchard Project Audio Lab and written by Winnie Kemp (LA)
- PENELOPE: Composer Alex Bechtel will collaborate with director Eva Steinmetz and Actor/Singer Grace McLean on Bechtel’s PENELOPE, a new concert theatre adaptation of The Odyssey from the point of view of Penelope, as she waits for Odysseus to return home