THE ORCHAE
Follow the Cat Productions
Category: Get Together

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Show Status | In Development

Email Address: followthatcatproductions@gmail.com

Company Website: http://www.facebook.com/FollowThatCat/

Producer Name: Natalie Di Risio & Vivienne Glance

Synopsis

The future: in a conservation area in the West Australian bush, 5 years in the future, Josie and Georgie launch The Story of the Orchid, a book by Georgie’s mother, Jasmine, who died tragically. As Georgie reads a poem to her, time and place slip into memory and myth. A Indigenous elder, who appears to be timeless, inhabits the changing history and places, observing the action.

The present: Jasmine prepares to leave for a field survey near Merredin WA. Georgie comes home from school, wearing an unusual perfume... 

Jasmine is looking for the elusive Western Underground Orchid, a critically endangered plant growing hidden below the ground. It’s exisits in only 2 locations in the world, one being on Shane Baxter’s farm near the wheat belt town of Merredin. Orchids have always aroused passions, and even the earliest myths they inspired are coloured by gender, sexual desire and violence.
Shane Baxter, a wheat farmer, tries to clear his debts by taking in farm stay guests. His son, Will, returns home from his fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) job at a mine site, hiding addictions, secrets and resentment. He is appalled by his father’s attempts to earn extra income in this way, and by his refusal to clear more land. Will objects to the idea of saving the Western Underground Orchid if it doesn’t help the farm to survive. He blames Josie, (his cousin by adoption) who works for the Department of Parks and Wildlife and is proud of her indigenous identity. Taking matters into his own hands, he tries to scare Jasmine away, but with tragic consequences. 

The past: history slips from the present to Georgie, a Nineteenth Century plantsman. Georgie is a young woman disguised as a man, trying to stay alive without food and water in the WA outback where she is collecting plants. She was a plant collector working for Charles Fraser, the Government's Botanist. Fraser is writing his infamous report on the soil of Western Australia; a document that hides the real problems settlers will face when they arrive in the new Swan River Colony in WA. Back in Kew Gardens, London, kangaroos and all things Australian fascinate Queen Charlotte. She is also jealous of the rival collection of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, and her friendship with the renowned scientist, Sir Joseph Banks. But Sir Joseph and Sir James Smith, a fellow botanist, find science is contested territory, affected by finance, politics and fainting women. 

The future: after five years Jasmine’s book is launched. Georgie, who we now know is transitioning from a man to a woman, completes the poem. Josie, a former colleague of Jasmine's, comments on Georgie’s unusual perfume.