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Photos by Jeff Woodward

Conceived and written by Ain Gordon

Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll

With Birgit Huppuch and Kim Martin-Cotten


Not What Happened considers the historical re-enactment of rural, pre- industrial America—a nation of fewer artifacts—of greater distances in which those few artifacts could be lost. Can we research the absent? Can we enter a time whose greatest specific is the vastness of an unyielding landscape now crowded and paved?


Two seemingly identical women appear on stage: one is a historical reenactor nearing the end of her career, theatrically channeling a bygone 1804; the other is her doppelganger, the 19th-century subject she “recreates.” Amid projected images of cast-off farm tools and other ruins of rural life, we follow the reenactor’s crafted narrative alongside that of her ghostly double. History lived vies with history told, leaving us to wonder: can we ever know what really happened?


Not What Happened was supported, in part, by The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund co-commissioned project. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endow- ment for the Arts (a federal agency). Collaborating organizations with the leadership participation of the Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) include VPL, Marlboro College, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, and Juniata Presents, with additional production development support from Baryshnikov Arts Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts/University of IL at Urbana—Champaign, MASS MoCA and the Playwrights’ Center.


Images by photographer Forrest Holzapfel

Set and costume design by Arnulfo Maldonado

Lighting design by Nick Ryckert

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