BY: LEIGH FONDAKOWSKI
DIRECTED BY: CAITLIN KANE
CORNELL UNIVERSITY, FLEX THEATRE
APRIL 26 - MAY 4, 2019
BY: JOSHUA GROFFMAN & SARAH HEADY
DIRECTED BY: AMANDA CONSOL
DRAMATURGY BY: CAITLIN KANE
Halcyon (formerly Unfinished) is a new opera that explores the question: “What happens to us when a place that matters to us comes to ruin?” Centered on the story of Halcyon Hall and Bennett College in Millbrook, NY and developed through extensive archival research and personal interviews, the piece speaks to the importance that places (and their loss) hold in our lives. At its root, Halcyon is the story of Halcyon Hall and the myriad lives that it once held. But it is also about the communities around the building—the college and its alumni, the Village of Millbrook, the Town of Washington—concentric circles of communities and stakeholders that add layer upon layer to the story of Halcyon. And at the center, the building itself becomes the beating heart of the piece—our main character.
Halcyon is the product of an intensely collaborative multi-year development process that will culminate in a world premiere in 2–3 years. We are currently planning a pre-premiere workshop of Halcyon in Millbrook in July 2021 that will culminate in two performances. We are also working with several community partners to co-produce additional events around and during the workshop period.
As the project's dramaturg, I have been working with librettist Sarah Heady and composer Joshua Groffman to reimagine and restructure the opera since the winter of 2019. As we prepare for next summer's workshop and the premiere, I am leading our efforts to expand our engagement with Millbrook residents through an oral history project, education programs at local high schools, and a public archival exhibition at the Millbrook Library.