Cornell's First President. Shakespeare's Heroic Rebel. A World Of Secrets.

ParaCosm Theatrics is proud to announce Rain Upon Remembrance, a site-based performance piece based on the life of Andrew Dickson White and Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Lead by co-founders Juliana Kleist-Mendez and Anya Gibian (Cornell ’12), the company is transforming Cornell’s A.D. White House into a fanciful world of secrets and illusion. Combining theatre, song, and dance, Rain Upon Remembrance tells a sweeping and intimate story of fealty, family, and betrayal.

Directed by Kleist-Mendez, the piece is a promenade-style installation; once inside, the audience can explore and encounter the house at will. Spectators are free to follow the characters of their choice as the multiple plotlines convene, develop, and disperse.  Kleist-Mendez says, “Working inside the A.D. White House is a dream, there is so much history and sense of Cornell pride.  It is a perfect place for our story to take place. We wanted to give the audience members a wondrous setting where they would be free to pursue who and what interests them.” Fourth year Cornell architecture student Andrea Onorato is working with the company to transform the house from a historical landmark into a setting where anything can happen.

This freedom of interaction is at the core of ParaCosm’s aesthetic; Gibian says that the company strives to create “Performance that brings the audience into the world of the play, to have them explore the space and story intimately and independently”. In Rain Upon Remembrance, audience members are actively engaged by the ensemble—carrying messages, keeping secrets, taking sides. Co-creator James Miller (Cornell ’12) adds that, “The audience is a huge part of any performance. We’re trying to acknowledge and enjoy that fact by making them part of our story.”

The piece was originally conceived as a physical adaptation of Henry IV; Gibian, who takes the role of Lady Percy, says that, “I love Shakespeare's histories, because although there are so few women, they are all really strong and interesting. Lady Percy caught my attention because she only appears in three scenes but she has one of the most famous speeches ("O yet, for God's sake, go not to these wars"). I started thinking what the rest of her life looked like. And it developed from there.” From that point, the performance evolved into an investigation of the historical parallels between A.D. White’s personal history and Shakespeare’s text.  Ensemble members straddle these two worlds, acting in both historical and literary roles (Gibian also plays the president’s daughter, Clara). 

 Rain Upon Remembrance was developed in collaboration with students from Cornell and Ithaca College, including Nick Shuhan, Eli Schoenberg and Ilana Gilovich, and was funded in part by a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts.

The hour-long show will have performances on February 16th, 17th, & 18th, at 8pm and 10pm. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door (limited availability). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or email to reserve your spot. This show is appropriate for ages 16 and up.

Leave a Reply.