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Brattleboro, VT - Vermont audiences have a unique opportunity to think about the complexities of history and historicizing by experiencing two unique works of theater in one weekend: Not What Happened, a new theater work created by three-time Obie award winning writer/director/performer Ain Gordon that features images created by rural documentary photo artist Forrest Holzapfel of Marlboro VT, and Triangle, a puppet play with music created by Brattleboro-based theater artist Patrick Keppel and New York composer Bradley Kemp.

presence of the past group class - website photo

Ain Gordon with Marlboro College faculty and students in the "Presence of the Past" seminar, Fall 2011

After a year of digging into archives, exploring cemeteries and cellar holes, immersing himself in the details of 19th century rural life through a year-long residency with Vermont Performance Lab, three time Obie award winning theater artist Ain Gordon returns to Southern Vermont with his newest theater work, Not What Happened. Not What Happened is a contrapuntal duet for two people who can't meet: the historical re-enactor and the woman she re-enacts. Gordon's unique approach to developing new work is a deep investigation into "place." Gordon used the human history, natural history and present day life of several southeastern Vermont villages as a springboard for this new evening-length work that explores the politics and ambiguities of our relationship to our past. VPL "embedded" Gordon in Marlboro, where he worked with Marlboro College faculty and students as part of a seminar course "Presence of the Past" and worked closely with historian/photographer/Town Lister Forrest Holzapfel to sift through archival material and walk the rural landscape of Windham County Vermont. The relationship between Holzapfel and Gordon grew into an artistic collaboration.

Not What Happened calls into question who gets written into the historical record and who gets forgotten. For Not What Happened Holzapfel has developed complex historically inflected photographic images that are integral to the visual design of the performance work. Those same images are the centerpiece of the photographic exhibit for The Labors of Silence.

Vermont Performance Lab will present Gordon's Not What Happened for two evenings at the New England Youth Theater in Brattleboro on June 14 and 15. In collaboration with the Catherine Dianich Gallery, VPL will present Holzapfel's photo exhibit The Labors of Silence, June 7 – July 26 with a preview and artist talk on Thursday June 6.

VPL's presentation of Not What Happened is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Expeditions Program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies. Not What Happened has been created with support from the MAP Fund Grant, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Center for Creative Research (New York University), Vermont Performance Lab's Creation Fund and Marlboro College. Not What Happened is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by the Flynn Center for the Arts, Juniata College and Vermont Performance Lab. The NPN Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


EXHIBIT: The Labors of Silence
WHEN: June 7-July 26, 2013 – June 6 preview opening 5:30-7:30 with artist talk at 6:30
WHERE: The Catherine Dianich Gallery, 139 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT
WHAT: A photo exhibit by rural documentary photo artist Forrest Holzapfel created in support of "Not What Happened" explores the contours of 19th century domestic surfaces and artifacts of the everyday, collected in Marlboro, VT. The images are experiential, tactile fragments: a series of questions about how we perceive something purely while in the flow of a mundane task.

conceived and written by Ain Gordon
images by Forrest Holzapfel
directed by Ken Rus Schmoll

WHEN: Friday & Saturday, June 14 & 15 2013, 8pm
WHERE: New England Youth Theater, 100 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT
TICKETS: General Admission $15 ($10 students)
Opening night party tickets (Friday night only) $50 – includes pre-show party with the artists with seasonal delicacies provided by Elizabethan Fare + premium reserved seating for the performance
To purchase tickets visit or
For information call 802-361-3361


AIN GORDON is a three-time Obie Award winning writer/director/actor, a two-time NYFA recipient and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in Playwriting. Commissioned/produced/presented: NYTW, Soho Rep., The Public, 651 ARTS, DTW, PS 122, the Kitchen Theatre, and HERE, etc (all NY); the Mark Taper (CA), George Street Playhouse (NJ), the Krannert (IL), Baltimore Museum of Art (MD), DiverseWorks (TX), Spirit Square (NC), North Fourth Arts Center (NM), LexArts (KY), and Dance Space (DC), etc. Collaborations with Bebe Miller: Wexner Center (OH), Krannert (IL), Myrna Loy Center (MT), and Bates (ME), etc. Collaborations with David Gordon commissioned/produced: ART (MA), ACT (CA) and AMTF (PA). Gordon is an original cast member of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell, appearing Off-Broadway and continues touring to UCLA Live, TBA Festival (OR), ICA Boston (Elliot Norton Award nom), Walker Art Center (MN), and Painted Bride (PA), etc. Gordon also wrote for NBC's "Will & Grace." Gordon's Art Life & Show-Biz; A Non-Fiction Play is published in Palgrave Macmillan's "Dramaturgy Of The Real On The World Stage." Gordon is a Core Writer of the Playwrights' Center, Artist-in-Residence at the Center for Creative Research, Co-Founder of Urban Memory Project and Co-Director of Pick Up Performance Co(s).

FORREST HOLZAPFEL is a photographer and local historian who resides in and makes work about his hometown of Marlboro, Vermont. A 1997 graduate of the Bard College Photography Program, Forrest has spent the last decade photographing, collecting stories, and interviewing his fellow townspeople in the tradition of small town photography that reaches back to the early 1900's. A recipient of numerous grants and awards from the Vermont Humanities Council, Vermont Arts Council, and the Vermont Folklife Center, Forrest created a traveling exhibition "A Deep Look at a Small Town: Marlboro, Vermont" that began at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury in May 2010, and has since been to 3 other locations around the state. The creation of a vivid sense of place is central to his vast body of work about this single town. Forrest uses an 8 x 10" view camera "to carefully collect the vestiges of the town's past and to clearly delineate our present time for future generations."

Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is a laboratory for creative research and community engagement. Over the last five years, VPL has brought artists of regional, national and international stature to the grange halls, studios and classrooms of rural Vermont through its innovative artist residency program. Last year VPL's community and education programs served more than 1,500 students, families and seniors in Windham County through workshops, informal performances and art-making experiences. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities.



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Triangle by Patrick Keppel

Triangle is a multimedia play that explores the legacy of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in which 146 women died, many jumping to their deaths. While vocalists perform Keppel's haunting text, puppets act as silent, spiritual incarnations of the story's dream-like metaphors, woven together by Kemp's richly layered improvisatory soundscape. In the libretto, the forewoman Joan tells three younger seamstresses her story of the Triangle workers' strike and of her survival of the subsequent fire. At the same time, the former owner of the Triangle factory, Blanck, presents his own version of the strike and fire, teetering among feelings of anger, grief, guilt, and eager complacency. Together they dramatize the psychological difficulty of maintaining ideals, or even of expressing one's basic humanity, within a framework of social injustice.

In this sense, Triangle doesn't simply dramatize the fire as a lamentable tragedy, a critical event in US labor history now safely contained by the passage of time and workplace safety laws. Rather, the play also seeks to remind us of where we see (or don't see) similar events today. Somewhere these Triangle women are still trapped—just as hundreds of garment workers have been in recent fires and building collapses in Bangladesh. The play asks how do we understand a system that continues to allow and even encourage such practices? To what extent are factory owners and corporations that profit from them also trapped by the system?

The Triangle artists will engage in a week-long residency at Sandglass Theater in Putney, culminating in two evening performances at Sandglass on June 15 and 16.

The Triangle artist residency and performances at Sandglass Theater are supported by a Jim Henson Foundation Project Grant. Triangle was originally created with the support of the Henson Foundation, the Vermont Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Triangle cast features New York vocalists Amy Carrigan (Meredith Monk ensemble) and Michael Douglas Jones (Anthony Braxton ensemble), Kamala Sankaram (Phillip Glass ensemble); Brattleboro puppeteer Finn Campman (Company of Strangers) and New York puppeteer Jamie Moore (Basil Twist); and New York musicians Stephanie Richards (trumpet, Asphalt Orchestra), and Zoe Christensen (clarinet, Painted Bird Ensemble). Scene and light design are by Josh Moyse and Josh Goldstein.


Written and directed by Patrick Keppel
Music by Bradley Kemp

WHEN: Saturday & Sunday June 15 & 16 2013, 5pm
WHERE: Sandglass Theater, Kimball Hill Rd, Putney, VT
Tickets: $15 ($10 students)
To purchase tickets visit
For information call 802-579-6400


PATRICK KEPPEL is a Vermont-based short story writer, novelist, and playwright. In 2004 his story "A Vectorial History of Leroy Pippin" was read by Eli Wallach at Symphony Space in New York as part of NPR's Selected Shorts program. His plays have been presented at The Boston Playwrights' Theatre, The Huntington Theatre's Studio 210, the Boston University School for the Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In 2008 he presented a spoken-word version Triangle about and lectured on "Form and Content in 'Activist' Theatre" at the annual conference of the Association for Humanist Sociology in Boston. His plays The Freeing of Mollie Steimer and Triangle have been archived by the Kheel Center for Labor Management at Cornell University. In 2011 he was awarded a Henson Foundation Seed Grant and an Artist Development Grant from the Vermont Arts Council to develop Triangle as a puppet play with music, which was premiered in March 2011 at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, NY, during the centennial of the Triangle fire.

BRADLEY KEMP's music mixes fragile textures, acoustic and electric forces, the sounds of found objects and song-like melodies. Kemp's songs and compositions span across folk, avant-garde, ambient, electronic, and minimalist genres, written for small ensembles and for electronics, often chance and guided improvisation. As member of the punk-chamber ensemble Anti-Social Music (NYC) he has had several premieres in New York City and performed dozens of premiers of others' works. Collaboration is a central theme to Kemp's aesthetic and is regularly engaged by dancers, sculptures, roboticists, filmmakers, puppeteers, and performance artists. The Houston Symphony and Detroit Symphony, among others, have performed his orchestral arrangements of opera arias. Most recently, Kemp recorded an album of original folk music with singer Heather Masse (Prairie Home Companion/Wailin Jenny's) Bradley Kemp has received support from the Jim Henson Foundation, American Music Center, Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for The Arts, the Vermont Council for the Arts, and New York State Council for The Arts.

Sandglass Theater, based in Putney, performs original devised theater work that combines puppetry with actors, music, video, and visual imagery. Sandglass also presents guest artists in its international Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival, its Puppets in Paradise event, and in its Voices of Community series of theater artists whose work addresses themes of Race, Gender, Disability, and Social Justice. Sandglass Theater is a member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and a partner in the National Performance Network.
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