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This Clement World

dj mendel, d.j. mendel, cynthia hopkins, jeff sugg, st. ann's warehouse, walker arts center, climate change

Accidental Nostalgia




Text and Music  by

Cynthia Hopkins



Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg


Directed by

DJ Mendel



Jordana Che Toback


Kristin Lapham and Tara Webb with help from Liz Bourgeois



Jim Dawson


Lighting Consultation Jason Boyd


Character Videos

DJ Mendel


Stage Management Susan Oetgen

Performed by

Cynthia Hopkins,

Jim Findlay, 

Jeff Sugg

Featuring Gloria Deluxe Musicians: Kristin Mueller (drums); Josh Stark (bass); Philippa Thompson (violin, guitar, spoons); Karen Waltuch (viola) On Video: Cynthia Hopkins, John Hopkins, Scott Shepherd, Maria Ventura, and Gary Wilmes


Accidental Nostalgia was funded in part by the LEF Foundation of New England and the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation; and developed through residencies provided by AS220, MASS MoCA, the Perishable Theater, and St. Ann’s Warehouse.



“Whenever Henrietta gets too close to the truth of her

past abuse, she's allowed to  revert to her academic exercise or offer an emotional response through song. It's a great dichotomy that director DJ Mendel takes full advantage of.“      - Time Out NY


“Accidental Nostalgia is the kind of theater that does for the stage what the Big Bang did for the universe.”

- Brooklyn Paper

ACCIDENTAL NOSTALGIA (2005 Bessie Award for Creation)


Accidental Nostalgia is an operetta about the pros and cons of amnesia.


Act I: Cameron Seymour, a neurologist specializing in the memory function of the brain (and suffering herself from psychogenic – emotionally driven – amnesia that blots out much of her childhood) delivers a lecture about an autobiographical book she has just published called How to Change Your Mind: A Self-Help Manual for Psychogenic Amnesiacs – a book resulting from research Ms. Seymour conducted using herself as a case study.


Act II: Ms. Seymour acts out the portion of her book wherein she travels to her childhood home in Carlson, Georgia, unearthing disturbing information about her past, including the fact that she is wanted for the murder of her own father (even though it remains to be determined if he was murdered, committed suicide, or simply disappeared).


Act III: Ms. Seymour escapes the murder charge by fleeing to Morocco, where she assumes a new identity: that of Cameron Seymour, a minor pop star from the 70’s who mysteriously disappeared during her 1979 “farewell concert” and who may (or may not) be our neurologist narrator’s real mother. This convoluted tale of self-transformation is punctuated by songs, dance numbers, and interactions with odd characters who appear on a large video projection screen. Accidental Nostalgia weaves hilarious, outlandish, scientific, philosophical, tragic, and deeply personal elements into a hybrid tapestry of communication, triggering pathos, bewilderment and delight in equal measure.

Mother Tongue
The List/Rosanne Cash
The Truth; A Tragedy
Must Don't Whip 'Um
Tom, Dick and Harry
Gravel's Spine
Fabulous Johnny
Fitcher's Bird
Speak Up!
Miss America
Wake Up and Waltz
Planet earth: Dreams
I'm Movin' On

D.J. Mendel

Actor, Director, Writer

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