Don’t miss Dorothy’s ruby slippers on a corner curio shelf, way in the back. The intent is to include stories we all know – the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – and also to reference a Salem connection. You will see the ruby slippers and much of Dorothy throughout Salem, especially in shop windows as a “No Place Like Salem” initiative. It’s a sign of welcome, of openness, and an indication of Salem’s place as a city of peace and of tolerance.
Have some fun with the picture of the parrot in the cage. I couldn’t find the right miniature parrot, so I took a picture of my own parrot, Pipinella, and placed him in the cage, front and center of the Living Room. It’s only fitting – he’s an attention hog. The inclusion of a parrot is a nod to the boxes of Joseph Cornell. [Hence the idea of the Doll House as “boxscape” as a whole and the “box(ed)scapes” of each individual room.]
But like The Kitchen, there is a lot of duality lurking in the items and atmosphere. The adults that inhabit The Living Room are either enjoying relaxed entertainment – or trying to escape from their ‘lives of quiet desperation.’ There is a cheese board, and chilled champagne. I intend a 70’s type social that can be a reminder of Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm,” see quote below:
“….disillusionment is everywhere. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the [ C & H] households…the parents…seek escape from the blandness of their existence with the tools at their disposal: drugs, sex, and deception….The relationships in the dysfunctional families are strained, with each member hiding behind pretense in their dealings with each other. One night…a rain storm coats every exposed surface with a glaze of ice. It is under these circumstances that the characters must confront their weaknesses and attempt to find peace despite them. “
So that’s the dark side in this room if you choose to interpret it that way; the suggested partying might be genuine fun, or it can be a front for the troubled side of escape. However, in this tableau the adults must work this out for themselves. The children are in another room.