Orange Is The New Red Shirt

Clockwork [Orange is the New] Black - Monday September 23rd at Measure

She’s Dead, Jim!

In the fall of 2013, we produced a short-run crossover concept show called Clockwork [Orange is the New] Black. We were very excited to tap into two stories that we really liked — A Clockwork Orange (“CO”) by Anthony Burgess and Orange is the New Black (OITNB) by Jenji Kohan and Piper Kerman. It seemed like there was a clear connection between the two pieces: both had anti-hero protagonists that became our window into an amoral world. It also seemed like a good opportunity to stretch our creative wings beyond Star Trek.

When our first run finished, I had plans to revamp the format. For example, CO is a dark tale that the performers had a hard time connecting to it and it has been parodied enough. When OITNB, season two aired, we still anticipated dusting off the show and playing along. Having watched the season, and seeing the story lines, we were suddenly on the fence as to whether there was added value in us picking it up again.

A month ago, Andie and I agreed that we would let this concept go for three reasons: casting, interest, and energy.


If we were to mount another improv production around OITNB, it should feature strong female performers of colour. We found it difficult to cast the desired diversity the first time around. Given that the production was meant to be a vehicle for ourselves as much as other performers, this wasn’t the right pairing.

Popular vs. Interest

A sketch show, titled Orange is the new Burgundy was produced this summer by Queens Players Toronto. There was a popular Tumblr site putting Orphan Black characters in the prison setting. But the improv community hasn’t draw upon the show for inspiration. If we were to mount another production of OITNB, it would be a musical parody and we would stay behind the scenes (excepting cameos and group songs).

Timing vs. Energy

The first time around, OITNB has some anticipation and buzz to it as it was a new show. For the second season, Netflix released the whole season at once, so there wasn’t the same continued anticipation that other cable shows have enjoyed. Additionally, we performed a lot this year and still have our annual fundraiser to plan and produce. If something is going to give, it will be these types of ideas that don’t draw our passion as much as others.

So, like many a red shirt crewman, we nonchalantly say goodbye and carry on our adventure elsewhere.