BAROCOCO

On Demand. On your device.

November 25, 2020 - January 1, 2021

BAROCOCO is a collaboratively devised ensemble work in which Happenstance Theater portrays oblivious entitlement on the brink of extinction. This TIMELYreflection on history is a physical comedy dive into the late Baroque and flaunts 18th century finery, wigs, panniers, gestural styling, elaborate ornamentation and the excesses of Rococo. The characters navigate the dangerous curves of manners and Age of Enlightenment from the exquisite to the revolting. Happenstance has great fun puncturing one percent pomposity and presents the poignant possibility of change.

 

We were supposed to have performed this show at 59E59 Theatres in the spring of 2020. They hope to host it live in the future, but for now, we all thought it too relevant not to release for streaming. The video was filmed and edited by Sharon Crissinger from our performance at Baltimore Theatre Project as an archival document. 


Featuring Gwen Grastorf, Caleb Jaster, Mark Jaster, Sabrina Mandell,

Sarah Olmsted Thomas & Alex Vernon.

Review by DC Metro Theatre Arts HERE

AND COMING SOON...

Up next is an exciting project. Sign up for our email list to be the first to know when it is released. 

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JUXTAPOSE

TENEMENT

A THEATRICAL-WEBSITE-COLLAGE IN ACTION

We will soon be launching an interactive website called THE JUXTAPOSE TENEMENT.

This virtual shadow-box, tenement building will feature portals through which visitors glean poetic glimpses of characters, environments, and fantasias. 

This show was originally conceived as a live performance and began development as part of a residency at Joe's Movement Emporium. It took as its inspiration the shadow boxes of Joseph Cornell, the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, nostalgia, ephemera, mass-extinction and the Anthropocene, discovery, creation, play, attachment and letting go. 

When the global pandemic hit and all live performance became dangerous, we were not sure how to proceed. In many ways the crisis resonated so well with some of the themes we were exploring, but how to continue the work when we couldn't gather as an ensemble and had no live performance option?

 

Then Sabrina, in her Visionary Tornado way, had an epiphany... 

JUXTAPOSE (the play) had been set in an imaginary tenement building - with the feeling of a turn-of-the-century boarding house - inhabited by eccentrics whose journeys, within the container of this dwelling, become art. What if we could continue to play with the characters that we'd developed and use video to create rooms and portals within a virtual tenement building? We could film both in isolation and do group work outside at the Happenstance Atelier with plenty of room to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. 

And then we could invite guest artists to create rooms to house and share their imaginings. This Tenement assemblage will be an artistic feast for visitors to inhabit for a spell. 

 

And so, as if by Happenstance the project is finding its way to fruition.

At their best, the screens that people find themselves in front of are like Cornell's boxes: inspiring places where we can lose ourselves in the poetic dreams of others. Using simple video techniques, Georges Méliès inspired film magic, manipulation of objects, puppetry, physical theatre, theatrical clown, sound layering and vintage spectacle, we are conjuring portals to hope.

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&  quarantine cinema

In honor of Hallowe'en and because we were unable to perform CABARET MACABRE live this year, we performed a DANSE MACABRE parade through several neighborhoods on October 31st. The event was filmed and edited by Sharon Crissinger into the lovely video below. 

THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING TIME FINANCIALLY FOR US AS ALL OF OUR GIGS AND PERFORMANCES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT HAPPENSTANCE, PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION HERE:

 

"All of the role-juggling performers prove themselves to be adepts of the deadpan, the sidelong glance, the freeze and the pregnant pause."

               - The Washington Post

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