TECHNOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS & INSTRUCTIONS FOR VIEWING

1.  MUST BE VIEWED ON LAPTOP OR DESKTOP. Will NOT work on mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.)

2.  MUST BE VIEWED IN CHROME BROWSER. TO INSTALL CLICK HERE.

3.  TURN SOUND ON.

4.  NO GOING BACK. Just as in the theatre you cannot go back. If you need to pause, there will be moments when you can simply "not click". Once activated videos must play out. So set aside an hour, get your favorite snack and beverage, dress up if you'd like, and imagine that you are going to the Theater for a show. Welcome to our tenement of shadow boxes. 

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ARTISTIC CO-DIRECTOR'S NOTE | BY SABRINA MANDELL

In 2006 Happenstance Theater debuted their first piece at the Inaugural Capital Fringe Festival. It was called PRUFBOX and was inspired by the works of Joseph Cornell and T.S. Eliot’s "The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock." It portrayed a woman from the sea who rides the cycle of existence and Eliot’s hesitant hero. Through collected images, text, music and gesture we created our first “theatrical collage.”

 

Its themes and style have stayed with us in various ways as the company has grown and flourished. The concept for JUXTAPOSE was to revisit the visual, poetic world of Joseph Cornell with the full ensemble quintet. We began its development in a two-week residency at Joe’s Movement Emporium in January 2020, toward the ultimate goal of creating a full, hour-long, live Theater piece. We took inspiration from shadow boxes, the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, nostalgia, ephemera, mass-extinction and the Anthropocene, discovery, creation, play, attachment and letting go. The finished work was to be co-produced by the Capital Fringe Fringe Festival and premiere as part of their 15th Annual Festival “Curated Series” in July 2020. The journey began and the residency was a huge success. We discovered our five characters and where they lived. THE JUXTAPOSE TENEMENT was on its way!

 

Then the Coronavirus pandemic locked things down, separated us and ended live performance for an indeterminate period of time. The Fringe was cancelled and funding for the project abruptly ended. After a couple of months of grieving, we began to reimagine the piece as a cinematic, online experience that we would create in isolation and assemble like a collage. Eventually we were able to do some filming collaboratively, outside, distanced, but together. Using simple video techniques, Georges Méliès inspired film magic, manipulation of objects, puppetry, physical theatre, theatrical clown, sound layering and vintage spectacle, we have conjured portals to hope. And so, as if by Happenstance the project is finding its way to ultimate fruition. Perhaps one day it will again be reimagined for the stage...

In the meantime the screens that people find themselves in front of are much like Cornell's boxes: inspiring places where we can lose ourselves in the poetic dreams of others.

MARK JASTER | THE NATURALIST, A COLLECTOR

Joseph Cornell works: The “aviaries,” esp. The Caliph of Bagdad, c. 1954; and A Parrot for Juan Gris, Winter 1953-54; Observatory Corona Borealis, 1950; untitled, (Parrot & Butterfly Habitat,) c.1948; and Solomon Islands, 1940-42, esp. the specimens below the compass tray. 

Literature/Poetry: T.S. Eliot: The Four Quartets; The Wasteland; The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock

Music/songs: Italian Concerto by J.S.Bach, performed by Landowska; a dawn chorus of birds from the English countryside

SABRINA SELMA MANDELLROSABELLE, THE CONCIERGE

Joseph Cornell works: Untitled (Teapot/Grand Hotel Couronne & Poste) c. 1965; La Physique, 1969; Untitled (Dovecote); The Sixth Dawn, 1964; Defense d'Afficher Object, 1939; Untitled Collage, 1931; Untitled, 1959; Untitled, 1966; Untitled (Beehive, Thimble Forest), 1948; Rose Hobart, 16mm film (color, silent with music track), 20 min, 1936.

Literature/Poetry: Beneath the Surface of Tenement Life: The Dialectics of Race and Poverty during America's First Gilded Age by Charles E. Orser, Historical Archaeology, vol. 45, no. 3, 2011, pp. 151–165; Beatrice, one of Dante’s guides in his Divine Comedy.

Music/songs: The Lady With The Big Umbrella, written by Danny Goodman & David Nelson, performed by Dean Martin; O Mio Bambino Caro from Gianny Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini performed by Renata Tebaldi; Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans performed by Doris Day.

Other influences: The artwork of Gustave Doré; Stories of my Eastern European, immigrant, great-grandparents

 

GWEN GRASTORF | SPILLETH

Joseph Cornell works:  Altars of Loneliness, Andromeda Hotel, Celestial Navigation, Study Hall, Lunar Space Object, Cassiopeia 1, Freize Toward the Blue Peninsula, Blue Sand Fountain, Soap Bubble Set, Medici Princess, Fountain of Youth, “Ideals are like stars”, Penny Arcade

Literature/Poetry: The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot, "Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."--Carl Schurz, Address, Faneuil Hall, Boston, April 18, 1859. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man.

Music/songs: Jupiter from Holst’ The Planets, Stairway to the Stars by Malneck, Signorelli & Parish

Other influences: Bjork, Kate Bush, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (film) by Terry Gilliam 
 

SARAH OLMSTED THOMASÉTOILE

Joseph Cornell works: Untitled (Hôtel de l’Etoile Series),1954; Untitled (Hotel De L’Etoile Series), 1952; Untitled (Tamara Toumanova), ca. 1940; Untitled (Celestial Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova), ca. 1940; Constellation (Project for a Christmas card), 1953; Original Scrapbook for Tamara Toumanova, 1953; Untitled (Zizi Jeanmaire Lobster Ballet), c. 1949; Untitled (Pink Palace), ca. 1950, Untitled (Harlequin), 1935/38.

Literature/Poetry: “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” from Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947. “I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, 1941.

Music/songs: Arabesque No.2 by Claude Debussy; Scheherazade Op. 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; Sarabande by George Frideric Handel; Symphony No. 1 by Georges Bizet; Barcarolle by Jacques Offenbach; Rêverie by Debussy.

Other influences: Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1935; L'Éclipse du Soleil en Pleine Lune by Georges Méliès, 1907; The Red Shoes, 1948.

ALEX VERNON | BLUE

Joseph Cornell works: Trade Winds, c. 1958, Planet Set, Tête Etoilée, Giuditta Pasta (dédicace) 1950, 

Music/songs: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor; Pourquoi t’en aller, by Annette Lajon

OTHER MUSIC

Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra - Park Avenue Fantasy (aka Stairway To The Stars), 1934

 
 
 

Jesse Gundy | LEAD WEB ENGINEER

Greg MacWilliam | TECH CONSULTANT

Jonah Penne | TECH CONSULTANT

 

Eric Brewer, Sharon Crissinger, Evangelina Hakes, Rachel Hynes, Joe's Movement Emporium, Maggie & Roy Mandell, Matthew Pauli, Glenn & Helen Pearson, Nancy Rodrigues, Marianne Ross, Patty & Richard Vernon.

This project was made possible with financial support from The Share Fund, The Morgan Fund  at Seattle Foundation, The Charles Hazelhurst Moura Family Foundation, The Nora Roberts Foundation,The Maryland State Arts Council, and those who have donated to Happenstance through Fractured Atlas. 

 
 
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