ORI Director’s Note
The dream began with William Leitch’s 1861 essay "A Journey Through Space" and was first realized 100 years later when with Yuri Gagarin took a voyage beyond the pull of earth. Since that time there have been well more than 500 people floating around in space. Twelve have walked the surface of our moon. We all star gaze in wonder of what might be out there. Some of us dream to be one of the five hundred. Could it be that we have a collective urge to leave home? Are we beginning to feel like captives on a dying planet?
In trying to illuminate his character’s seemingly indecipherable speech, Samuel Beckett indicated that Lucky had much to offer to those who’d listen. He described the gist of one part of the monologue as suggesting we are left “…to shrink on an impossible earth under an indifferent heaven.” As the psalmist says, when we consider the universe we are overwhelmed by feelings of insignificance. We are tiny beings on a tiny planet traveling through an indifferent heaven. And sometimes we feel lost and adrift. Sometimes we feel trapped here. This is the essence of Ori. It’s a story about the end of days and about the desperate dreams we construct in the hope that things can continue as they have always been.
I wrote ORI to be performed live at the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium with the night sky being projected above the heads of the audience for the duration of the play. One of our main points of focus at Ghostbird is to tell stories in situ. We believe that art expresses itself more powerfully if it lives as a part of its surroundings and that an ephemeral community inhabiting that same place has a greater appreciation of the expression when it is subjected to that power.
But along came the pandemic and the play had to be performed in an abandoned village. This is the video record of that performance. While it is not at all what I had imagined, I hope it retains some of its meaning and I hope it will spark a thought or two about us, our planet, and our place in an indifferent heaven.
This play is supported, in part, by grants from the Florida Department of State--Division of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Fort Myers, and the Lee County Tourist Development Council.