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.

The Haunted Doll House Living Room