“Under Paradise Valley” is a play/art installation performance by Pamela Petro, the Lucille Geier Lakes Writer in Residence at Smith College for 2016. It is directed by Mariel Bell, Smith ’16.
The actors, left to right, are Aiko Dzikowski, Bailey Ellicott, Mara Keldei, Callum La France, and John Broglio.
The production crew includes Shannon Mulligan, Bailey Ellicott, Mariel Bell, and Pamela Petro. The play was performed in the Poetry Center at Smith College on 24-25 March, 2016.
“Under Paradise Valley” evolved from an art installation by Petro at Historic Northampton Museum in 2013.
Viewers were invited to stand behind old windows printed with 18th century gravestone carvings from Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, and hold captions created from snippets of headstone epitaphs, poetry, and comments on New England stone carving.
Petro took viewers’ photos, and then assembled all 125 images and captions into the text of a “found play,” adding dialogue to flesh out the story. The result is a graphic script—a graphic novel in play form—and this video captures its premier performance.