Tiffany DuMouchelle performs Ofelia's Life-Dream at Birch Aquarium's giant
kelp forest tank, April 2014

Ofelia's Life-Dream (2009, revised in 2014 and 2020)
for actress and electronics

Ofelia's Life-Dream by Caroline Louise Miller

Performed by Liz Comninellis. Premiered in September 2009 at the Kansas City Art Institute


A woman finds herself at a difficult life crossroads, names herself “Ofelia” and embarks on a poetic inner journey. Dreaming that she is drowning, she contemplates biological cycles of life and death, embodying three organisms along the way: a tropical bioluminescent fungi, a moth that drinks the tears of sleeping birds, and a giant palm tree that fruits once in hundred years, then collapses upon itself and dies. The use of the name “Ofelia,” an altered spelling of “Ophelia,” is a feminist rewriting and extrapolation of Shakespeare’s famous female character. Whereas Shakespeare’s Ophelia is defined by men and the control they exert over her life, Ofelia exists in the universe of this piece as a fully-realized person with a rich inner world that is poetic, intellectual, spiritual, and scientific all at once.