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SYFY WIRE tatiana maslany

Tatiana Maslany on 'slippery' challenge of slipping back into characters for Orphan Black reunion

By Tara Bennett
Orphan Black finale imdb

It’s been three years since BBC America’s Orphan Black ended its five-season run, but the Clone Club is still beloved and not forgotten. And that’s especially true for Tatiana Maslany and the cast of the series, so she’s reuniting the Clone Club on Sunday to use their seestra powers for good. 

In a turn of events we’re sure not even Cosima could have imagined, the global pandemic has created hardship for everyone, including those marginalized in the LGBTQ community. With that in mind, Maslany and the show’s cast and creators are welcoming fans to join them for a two-episode table reading that will be streamed on the official Orphan Black Facebook page Sunday, May 17 at 3:00 p.m. ET. 

“There’s definitely a feeling of what can we do to help, and also to be creative right now,” Tatiana Maslany told SYFY WIRE today about how the event came to fruition. “We were inspired by the Big MouthParks and Rec, and the Queer as Folk casts getting back together to raise money for charity and to also create community. It felt like a no-brainer.”

Despite the cast residing all over the globe, Maslany says it wasn’t a big challenge to get everyone back together. “Everyone was gung-ho to do it and it was pretty easy to get it into motion when everyone said yes. We really valued our time on Orphan Black and valued the Clone Club and just wanted to do it.”

To read the Season 1 episodes “Variations Under Domestication” and “Parts Developed In An Unusual Manner,” Maslany will be joined by Maria Doyle Kennedy (Mrs. S), Jordan Gavaris (Felix), Kristian Bruun (Donnie), Kevin Hanchard (Detective Art Bell), Dylan Bruce (Paul), Evelyne Brochu (Dr. Delphine Cormier), Josh Vokey (Scott), Michael Mando (Vic), Inga Cadranel (Detective Angela DeAngelis), Eric Johnson (Chad Norris), Natalie Lisinska (Ainsley), Kathryn Alexandre, creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, executive producer Kerry Appleyard, writer Will Pascoe, and co-producer Mackenzie Donaldson. 

For how they settled on those two particular scripts, Maslany says, “It was tough to find one [episode] that was juicy for everyone, so doing two episodes was the only way to do it. 'Variations Under Domestication' was so fun and light, and highlighted the different dynamics of Donnie and Sarah. And Cosima and Delphine have a lot of budding relationship stuff that became beloved by the fans, and we wanted that to be highlighted. 'Parts Developed in An Unusual Manner' has gorier stuff and some beautiful stuff with Mrs. S and Art. So, it was all about a balance.”

And to add a little intrigue to the whole affair, Maslany also hints that there will be some surprises about just who will read what parts on Sunday. “I cast a few people in roles that they didn’t play in the show, so I’m really excited to see what they bring to it, and for the Clone Club to see them in parts that weren’t for them, so I hope they get a kick out of that.”

Maslany also asks for some patience from the fans because she admits slipping back into the skins of Sarah, Cosima, Alison, and Helena again was not just like riding a bike. “Even just looking at the scripts now and working through them in prep for Sunday is way harder,” she laughs. “The muscle memory has softened, but it’s fun to go, ‘Oh, right’ with the voices, or the accents. It’s all slippery but it will be fun for people to see where it falls off the rails here and there.”

While the streaming event is free, Maslany encourages fans to support the two charities they’ve selected all the proceeds go towards: CenterLink and Sistering.

“Our LGBTQ fanbase has always been so deeply important to us,” Maslany explains. “We realized really early on the show was striking a cord with LGBTQ youths and adults finding themselves and seeing themselves reflected back. It was eye-opening to feel that response, and how impactful it could be, and how important it was to people. We felt protective of the community and aware of them in our writing. So, getting to work with CenterLink, an organization that helps over 250 LGBTQ community centers around the world, is so important to us. They are disproportionately affected right now due to stigma or having to be isolated with family members who are unsupportive or even violent. There’s a loss of community which is so incredibly important to identity and feeling safe.”

She continues, “And then the other charity is a smaller charity in Toronto called Sistering. It’s a group that helps women and trans people across Toronto who are precariously housed or homeless. It’s also a community that is deeply impacted right now. Our show has always had feminist ties and we wanted to ally ourselves with a charity protecting women and trans people in this time.”

As for how she’s personally dealing with the lockdown, the actress admits it’s been a real challenge for a “deeply social person” like herself. “I’m missing that for sure. But what was so obvious to me when we were putting this together is the deep need for artists to create. And at the same time, I’ve held the opposite to be true and have felt deeply unmotivated to create because there’s so many other places your brain and your heart are trying to process and contend with. I think if you do feel that impulse, it’s wonderful to know that there are so many other people who want to get on a Zoom and read a play, or writing something with a friend at a distance, or whatever is available to us. But at the same time, I’ve had to let myself off the hook, when I feel completely disconnected from that. And that’s OK too, because we’re just surviving.

“By all accounts, I should be reading novel after novel right now, but I have no capacity for it,” Maslany says, laughing. “But the one thing I do feel connected to is dance classes. Ryan Heffington, who is the choreographer of Sia’s music video 'Chandelier' and The OA, has been doing these classes on his Instagram live three times a week. He’s a choreographer that most of us would never get to work with so it’s crazy to get to do his classes. And in L.A., I used to do Dance Church, which is Kate Wallich’s creation. She does two a week and it’s saving my life. I feel like there’s so much anxiety in our bodies, and you don’t want to have to talk, so it’s a great way to express. Also, both teachers allow for a lot of emotion in it. Get it out and whatever feeling is OK. It’s deeply connective.”

As the Clone Club knows, even when it’s a party of one, there’s never a bad time for a dance party…