by Mike Hoban
Home – Written by Geoff Sobelle; Directed by Lee Sunday Evans. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center at 559 Washington St. Boston through October 1.
Home – the theatrical experience built around the onstage construction of a home and the lives of its multiple inhabitants – is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, although you’ve certainly experienced everything in it over and over and over in your own life. Absurdist actor, illusionist, and playwright Geoff Sobelle has devised a work that takes the most familiar parts of our lives, from getting out bed, brushing our teeth, taking a shower (which includes brief nudity) and yes, going to the bathroom, and turns it into a symphony of movement in the comfort of a kind of “every-home”.
The show opens with Sobelle, looking very much like a stage hand, walking onstage with portable work lights, and setting to work with a staple gun affixing plastic sheeting to a new wall frame. “Want a hand?” an audience member yells out, and she soon joins him onstage to help him finish the task. Following some rather astonishing illusions – where players appear to shape shift into new characters – a group of diverse folks begin constructing a house onstage and furnishing it to suit their tastes, before launching into the everyday tasks of living. The actors each play multiple roles (such as mom and child, single men and women , and even a dominatrix) and Sobelle takes the cast members through life events, such as school graduations, weddings, divorce, and eventually death. The characters often inhabit the stage simultaneously without being aware of the other’s existence, and there’s also a white clad guitar/harp playing troubadour (also invisible to the rest of the cast) narrating the action via folk songs.
There is no dialogue from the characters, but it’s not necessary, as the repetitive tasks being executed (including one sequence where the actor runs halfway upstairs, then runs back down again when they realize they’ve forgotten something) wordlessly capture the essence of everyday life. At one point the cast begins bringing audience members on stage and integrating them into the narrative, and it just becomes one gigantic – and joyous – house party.
Home is a lot of fun – but unfortunately it only runs through the weekend, so get out of your own house and into the Paramount Center. For more info, go to: https://artsemerson.org/