Mapping Moments: A Journey to the Sites of “The Suburbs”

Mapping Moments: A Journey to the Sites of “The Suburbs”

Last week, on July 14, 2021, a limited audience got a chance to see the workshop performance of the three plays comprising Thrown Stone’s The Suburbs. Held in the Walled Garden at the Keeler Tavern Museum and History Museum, the audience got a glimpse into how these plays might begin to live within and interact with their site-specific locales. This was also a vital time for the director, actors, designers, and entire team to tour and understand these locations in greater depth, in preparation for the full production opening in August. If you are traveling to Ridgefield, have never visited these locations before, or are a seasoned local and just want to view these sites through new eyes, I invite you to join me on this walking tour.

The Suburbs: Keeler Tavern Museum Garden House
Our first location: The Keeler Tavern Museum and History Museum. As we walk up the driveway from Main Street, we see the side of the Garden House, which features a beautiful banquet hall right inside the glass doors facing us. The Garden House was built in 1915. Beyond the Garden House, we catch glimpses of the Walled Garden and Rose Arbor.
The Suburbs: Keeler Tavern Museum Garden
As we turn the corner of the Garden House through beautiful walkways partly shaded with pergolas, we enter the Walled Garden. Amidst a bright, grassy lawn, a stone reflecting pool centers us in the audience space. The flowers are in full bloom for summer, sprinkling the green with hues of blue, purple, and yellow.
The Suburbs: Keeler Tavern Museum Garden House
Taking a spin around amidst the daisies, we see the view of the stage. This is where the first play of the evening, written by Catherine Yu, will be performed. Before the sun begins to set, audience members will be able to enjoy the early evening glow and buzz of the garden. In the distance, fragments of the rest of the Keeler campus can be seen, such as the Museum and Museum shop.
The Suburbs: Keeler Tavern Museum Garden House
The view from the stage itself! Stepping into the shoes of the actors for a moment, this is what they will see looking out at the audience space during the show. The Keeler playing space offers many different levels and unique spaces for the actors, director, and designers to utilize for Yu’s play.
The Suburbs: Main Street Keeler to Aldrich
Departing the Keeler, we walk on the sidewalk along the streets of Ridgefield to make our way to the next location, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. The streets are lined with large trees that offer some shade and whose leaves add ambient rustling in the breeze. From here, it is only a ten minute walk to Ridgefield’s town center, which features a wide array of shopping, restaurants, and other arts destinations.
The Suburbs: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum administrative building sits close to the road, inviting passersby onto its wrap-around porch. The Aldrich is a unique “independent, non-collection institution,” that rotates both indoor and outdoor exhibits throughout the year.
The Suburbs: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
As we take a right off of the street and head into the parking lot, we come across the full campus for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. In stark stylistic contrast to the Keeler and West Lane Inn, the Aldrich is an abstraction of traditional New England architecture, with clean lines, large windows, and playful shapes.
The Suburbs: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
A grassy lawn extends to our right, with grassy steps leading down to a stone patio. Standing at the top of these steps, we can see the playing space where Tony Meneses’ play will perform. While the Keeler and West Lane Inn recall the past, the Aldrich thrives in the present and gestures toward the future.
The Suburbs: West Lane
Leaving the Aldrich, we cross Main Street and head south past the Keeler, turning right onto West Lane to arrive at the West Lane Inn. As the West Lane Inn comes into view, we see the large, grassy lawn where the audience will view the final play. At night, the lanterns at the front of the property lead guests, Ridgefielders, and theatre-goers alike to find their way to the Inn.
The Suburbs: West Lane Inn Sign
Turning at the sign for the Inn, we enter the property. Built in 1849 and set on a quiet side street away from the more frequented Main Street, this property brings us back to a time of the past. This front lawn is home to many events and parties throughout the year.
The Suburbs: West Lane Inn
Standing on the lawn of the West Lane Inn, we see the playing space for the final play, written by Phanésia Pharel. This play will utilize the spacious lawn and front porch of the Inn. Flowers adorn the porch and bloom at the base of the Inn in the Spring and Summer months — the perfect spot to conclude The Suburbs.

These sites offer beauty, history, and intrigue, and we are excited for our team to begin working and playing in these spaces. We hope you will join us for our full production in August-September to experience theatre written specifically for, set, and performed at these iconic Ridgefield locales.

This season, Talia Hankin — Thrown Stone’s Literary Liaison, Intern, and Assistant Director of The Suburbs — will illuminate what goes on behind the scenes in a Small Professional Theatre as we bring three new plays from the page to the stage. Drawing from interviews and conversations with Thrown Stone creators, this series highlights the humans behind the work. 

Photo credits: Pippa Walton

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