Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen
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Toy theaters are a 19th-century home entertainment form. Traditionally, the toy theater was cheap and mass-produced, a way of staging classic drama in miniature: to recreate a giant spectacle on a small scale. Toy theaters emerged with the rise of mass printing. Enterprising businessmen started printing figures, and people would collect them and perform at home as parlor entertainment.

In this miniature world of my creating I give desires and nightmares full reign. The fabricated space facilitates my approach towards subjects without social embarrassment, limited only by the capacities of my mind.

Directing the characters moves, location, timing, and activities is a way to reclaim my environment that often feels out of my control. I imagine the daydreams and the horrors of the characters I have created. I build the environment in which they exist, and the lighting that casts the shadows.

Inspired by fairy tales, biblical stories, and secrets, my own fantastical narrative emerged. I expose the deepest imaginings with low tech production qualities and common household lighting, where bathrooms morph into forests and small animals watch TV. This is a world full of breathtaking wonders where everything that is in any way conceivable can and may happen.

The action unfolds before painted backdrops depicting familial and enchanting settings. Roles are switched between the characters throughout the plot to question who is a victim and who is a perpetrator. Animals appear, not as cuddly pets, but as cunning beasts.