WORTHY: The Quest Begins...

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King Arthur meets Kidney Transplant

That's the basic info you really need to know about the show we're researching and creating and that this page will be open-sourcing our quest through the entire creative process to bring WORTHY into existence. 

THE HOLY GRAIL: What we think we are looking for

Influenced by real life stories from transplant recipients fused with the mythology surrounding King Arthur, WORTHY will be a fantastical story of Charlotte, an organ recipient who with her new kidney, Arthur, begins an epic quest to prove her worthiness to her unknown, dead donor. Weaving together historical myths with contemporary “truths” (experiences/attitudes), we’re investigating the physical, emotional, and philosophical impact of organ donation; how mortality affects morality, guilt and gratitude; and how we - individually and collectively - qualify and quantify our own worthiness. 

This project has been percolating for several years with the intention Katie would co-write it with her dad, Randy Leamen, whose experience as a 27-year kidney transplant recipient inspired WORTHY with an email in March 2015:

Katie, you asked me if I had made any great change or developed any great philosophy as a result [of my kidney transplant]. Despite all the years I haven't really developed an answer. I can say that when I thought I was going to die I felt anger at the situation but no regrets. I felt as though I had been living my life and pursuing my dreams to the fullest. I did feel, and many people said this to me, that I must have been spared for some Purpose. I have been trying to determine what that purpose might be. Maybe that in part explains my community involvement. I feel a sense of indebtedness following my transplant. Although I do not know the kidney donor family I feel an obligation to them that their family member's kidney went to a WORTHY person.”

This response spoke to Katie of the knightly qualities of chivalry, honour, bravery, mercy, justice and faith that she recognizes from the stories of King Arthur: we all have quests - maybe now we call them “purpose” or “passion” but there are many parallels between the stories of King Arthur and our own questions surrounding organ donation that we think it will prove a helpful framework to try to narrow down large concepts through these familiar stories.


We’ve broken down work into three phases - RESEARCH, EXPERIMENTATION, CREATION - on five themes:

  • Oral Histories – interviews with kidney transplant recipients, families, doctors, organizations.
  • Arthurian - legends and myths, context of medieval life, role of a troubadour, knights, Code of Chivalry
  • Science – how dialysis/transplants work (technical/lifestyle), research, technology like 3D printing organs, legislation, transplant procedures
  • Language – non-verbal (mask, clown, ASL, etc), defining “worthy”.
  • Culture - community attitudes/questions surrounding organ donation, how religion/politics/culture/experience impacts organ donation, different communities’ definitions of worthiness.


Like King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, we need people to join this quest to get it made. Here are some easy ways you can be involved:

  1.  Follow along - we'll be posting as we go and we hope that you'll follow the adventures. Nice and passive, you don't even have to don any armour for this one.
  2. Suit up and charge in - Be a matchmaker - do you know someone who we should interview? Tell us your thoughts on organ donation or experiences with kidney disease, organ transplants, etc. Share your expertise - if you are a troubadour, medieval scholar, dialysis nurse, or Merlin himself, we'd really like to have a coffee and pick your brain. 
  3. Gift of Kings and Queens (donations to our treasury) - We can't give you a charitable receipt as we are not a charity, but if along the way you find you are passionate about this play and what it stands for, we really appreciate any donations you can make to help us cover the costs of artists, equipment, etc. Email us at noporpoiseproductions (at) gmail.com.