In 1995, workers cleaning out the Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate New York discovered hundreds of suitcases from former patients packed away, their owners buried and forgotten. The objects within were time capsules of lives disrupted and interrupted, simultaneously rich with details about their owner’s past yet devoid of answers to how or why. The suitcases were unfinished stories trapped in time.
Forgotten Baggage is an evening told with Object Theatre, intimate and simple. Each scene is based on items from one suitcase, giving the objects inside a chance to live out their lives, if only for a brief moment. Essentially a work of fiction inspired by remnants of actual people, I gleaned the tales from the objects themselves. Told both with and without words, the stories go from comedic, to fantastical, to tragic. Together they weave a fractured yet cohesive evening (echoing, perhaps, the mental states of the original patients). This Fringe production is a work in progress production, featuring 2-3 “Suitcase Stories.” There will be an opportunity for a talk back after the performance. For information on the suitcases, and the photos by Jon Crispin that inspired this show, visit www.willardsuitcases.com
A proud recipient of a Jim Henson Foundation Workshop Grant