To honor International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the creators and the core cast of BBC America’s Orphan Black reunited on Sunday for a live, online, socially-distanced table read on Facebook of two classic Season 1 episodes, “Variations Under Domestication” and “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner.” For more than two and a half hours, they read the scripts, teased one another during act breaks and shared stories about filming between episodes.
The brain child of Tatiana Maslany (Sarah, Helena, Beth, Cosima, Rachel) and Kristian Bruun (Donnie), they collected their fellow cast from around the world including Maria Doyle Kennedy (Mrs. S), Jordan Gavaris (Felix), 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 (Maslany’s clone double) and creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett. The entire endeavor was for charity and donations are still being taken for the LGBTQ centric organizations: CenterLink and Sistering.
Maslany opened the event by sharing with the audience that the Orphan Black family are all aware that the global quarantine has been uniquely difficult for the LGBTQ community, and so they all wanted to honor the Clone Club fandom during this time by coming together. With that, Maria Kennedy Doyle kicked everything off by performing the Orphan Black theme song live with her spouse, Kieran Kennedy. Graeme Manson then took point as the narrative text reader for episode 1.6, “Variations Under Domestication,” and it was off to the races.
As promised, Maslany changed up expectations a bit by having actress Kathryn Alexandre (who was always replaced in the series by VFX) appear as the appropriate other clone in any given scene against Maslany. Kevin Hanchard took over the role of Dr. Aldous Leekie (Matt Frewer in the series). And Inga Cadranel played Alison’s nosy neighbor.
At the end of the episode, writer Will Pascoe shared some stories as he sat inside his car. Now executive producer on Absentia, he skipped out of post-production work to participate in the table read. He remembered that the series would try to cluster as many scenes with one version of the clones as possible, and Maslany has a tendency to remain in character even between takes. Manson chimed in, “That’s why no one wanted to give notes on Rachel days! But it was even worse on Helena days.”
John Fawcett also confirmed that the classic scene in the episode where Donnie is threatened via glue gun was one of the earliest scenes they ever dreamed up for Alison. And it remains one of his favorite of the series.
For “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner,” writer Tony Elliott wasn’t able to be there but he was called out by the EPs and the cast for his work on the episode. John Fawcett took over the narrative text reading duties, while Jordan Gavaris did double duty as Felix and Tomas (Daniel Kash in the series) and Kristian Bruun played Dr. Aldous Leeki.
At the conclusion, Maria Doyle Kennedy showed off the bracelet Mrs. S always wore on the series, and the actress got to keep. And the whole cast thanked the Clone Club for remaining such a strong fandom even years after the finale. In particular, they all appreciated how welcoming they were to all the new Orphan Black fans who were still coming to the series. Bruun summed it up for everyone by adding joyfully, “We never thought we’d get to do these characters again together.”