Live theater is on hold for now, but thanks to Audible’s collaboration with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakina Nayfack’s play, Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club, which features several transgender luminaries, is available for your listening pleasure.
The play was intended for an in-person premiere before live theater was sidelined with shelter-in-place orders last March. But the collaboration with Audible offers the thoughtful, uplifting piece a platform to reach an even wider audience. In it, Nayfack (Transparent, Difficult People) tells the story of “a vibrant, international group of transgender women [who] band together at a hotel in Thailand to confront the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery,” according to the Audible Originals’ synopsis.
Nayfack plays Kina, who is preparing for her surgery alone. “But a caring nurse (Ivory Aquino), a wise couple (Kate Bornstein and Annie Golden), and a karaoke-loving bellhop (Telly Leung) may be exactly who she needs to ignite her truest sense of self,” the synopsis continues.
“While having a world premiere production at Williamstown Theatre Festival would have been amazing, the pivot to Audible now allows the piece to be heard by tens of thousands of people all around the world, including and especially trans people who deserve to hear stories with their experience at the center,” Nayfack told The Advocate.
Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club is directed by the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia. It also features Angelica Ross, Liz Lark Brown, Samy Figaredo, Bianca Leigh, Dana Aliya Levinson, Pooya Mohseni, Jason Tam, and Ita Segev.
In an exclusive clip from Audible Originals, Kina arrives at the Butterfly Club, where she is introduced to the lively group as their “newest sorority sister.”
Listen to the clip below and get the full play on Audible Originals.