Embedded in the Bed Box Theatre are inter-linked stories.

The Story of the Bed Box Theatre tells of the emergence of a female voice and active performance, as a girl finds a theatre nestled in the spiral skeleton of her bed.

The animation, The Cuckoo in the Staircase: Gabriel Said, is a tale of Maria's creativity when faced with a difficult choice, in a parallel scenario of a saintly happening — with an alternate twist.



Read script l Watch on VTape
Center For Art Tapes

An excerpt from Virginia Woolf's essay, ”Professions for Women” is re-told, as a Winding Staircase, Cuckoo Birds, Books, Bingo, and Polka Shoes surface through the dreams in the Bed Box Theatre.

The computer becomes a tool for navigating through a miniaturized architecture in a landscape of memory and the imaginary.

As part of the Centre For Art Tapes‘ Computer Scholarship Program, I produced Embedded in 1997.

It was re-edited, with an entirely new soundtrack and an animated segment, in 1999.


I find the ability to merge story telling with the computer particularly exciting. I vividly remember the landscapes in the animations that I watched on television as a child. These landscapes were very dream-like and although I knew them to be artificial, I wanted to 'enter‘ them. Using the computer, I can create a 'virtual' world where I am active in its making instead of just watching it unfold. The computer enables me to direct on a miniaturized scale, merging many of my interests; feminism, architecture, painting, sculpture, animation and writing.

I had made the House of My Own assemblage previously; within it is a window-box with a picture of ”The Annunciation” by Gerard David collaged in it as well as an essay by Virginia Woolf. Her writings were definitely an inspiration, especially ”Professions for Women” and ”A Room of One's Own”. I wanted to animate this box, within a larger structure, to explore these ideas even further.

House of My Own

House of My Own, 1995
Assemblage (60"x 72")
Collection of the artist
© Julie Lapalme

I was also inspired to write The Cuckoo in the Staircase: Gabriel Said after reading an email by an Italian Art Critic, posted on the Guerrilla Girls ‘Hate Mail‘ link on their Web Site. It was a vicious attack on the Guerrilla Girls and feminism in general, addressing them as ”a bunch of communists, bitches and hoars [sic]”... He went on to write that the best work of art a woman can make is in bed pro-creating and that the only female genius is the Virgin Mary. I was shocked that some people still believe in this limiting essentialism and there is such anger towards women active in the production of art and culture. It saddened me but also made me angry and fueled the piece along.

The Cuckoo in the Staircase: Gabriel Said became an alternate conception tale, tying into the mythology around the Cuckoo Bird and views on Adoption. The Story of the Bed Box Theatre also dealt with adoption as the theatre represented the unknown for me as an adoptee. Having the character performing in it instead of waiting for it to entertain her, was akin to searching actively for information about genealogical heritage instead of passively waiting for answers — listed on a government passive registry [Adoption Disclosure Registry].

Bed Box Theatre

The Bed Box Theatre, 1997
Assemblage / 2-sided puppet theatre
(3’8" x 6’5" x 1’2" )
Collection of the artist
© Julie Lapalme

Land of the lost? A festival of forgotten technologies
Curated by Brandon Vickerd, Renato Vitic and David Diviney, eyelevel Gallery, Halifax, NS
August 2002
Women’s Television Network
‘Shameless Shorts’ Program curated by Jake Moore, Winnipeg, MB
May 2000/Nov. 99
By the Skin of Our Teeth - A Feminist Art Action
Group Exhibition of Thematic Work curated by NSCAD's Women's Collective
Anna Leonowens Gallery I - Nova Scotia College of Art & Design
Gallery Screening
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Herland Film Festival
‘Overboard’ Program curated by Noreen Battagglia. Calgary, AB
Oct. 1999
Images Festival of Independent Film & Video:
New Screen 16, XX Animation, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
May 1998
Out Of The Centre
Centre for Art Tapes Scholarship Premiere, Wormwoods Cinema, Halifax, NS
Nov. 1997
[Narrator] Melinda Spooner & Julie Lapalme
[Maria Palabra]
Zaharenia Fatouros
[Gabriel Ange] Andreas Guibert
[Virginia Bird] Rita McKeough