By Luke Garza
On September 27th, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts showcased the play Home in the Colwell Playhouse. The play slowly evolved from the silent story of one man who had built a house, the the stories of several people, each living out their own lives in the same home, unaware of the other’s very existence. Towards the end, even the audience became a central role in the amazing play, both in on stage participation and in helping to set the mood for the scene.
The set started off quite simple, just one man, just one frame, and just one bed. Soon, however, a multitude of characters began appearing. Characters such as a construction worker, an elderly woman, two different young women, two different children, and another man. The set also quickly evolved into an actual house, of which the actors built alongside the workers. Throughout the play, the actors changed outfits many times to reflect them as they grew and changed throughout the days and seasons. Each family blissfully unaware of the other people inhabiting the same house.
Later into the play, the cast members began doing something I would describe as peculiar. They began selecting audience members at random and pulling them up on stage. I suspected they were just cleverly planted actors but then one of my instructors, Valleri, was pulled to act. My suspicions were further debunked when I myself was selected to come onstage. While I was up there the cast members quickly told me to put on a green squid hat and someone else handed me a bottle of Tequila, I was instructed for the time being to pretend to take a big drink, pass it on, dance around with the rest of the cast, then wait for further instructions. After that I ended up slow dancing with a man in a chicken costume, folding clothes, and moving out of my newfound home. Truly this audience participation gave me an experience like no other play I have been to, it was so much fun to be able to act in front of a crowd, despite my complete lack of preparation. The audience involvement really gave Home a unique feel, as if I was meant to give me a sense of belonging, just like an actual home.
This play helped me to further realize an idea I’ve heard before whether it intended to or not. The idea that we are all the main character of our own story. Watching the actors onstage, not acknowledging the presence of the other characters felt like somewhat of a metaphor to me. They all focused on their own lives, not paying much if any attention to any others, and so did I, as I pretended to be drunk and folded my clothes onstage. It made me think about my own home, my own family, and how even though we may live together, we all live our own lives totally separate from each other, yet also joined under a roof. While I may live with them, my brothers, my sister, and my mother and father will never know what it is like to live a day in my shoes, they will never know the emotions I feel or the hardships I’ve endured, and I will never truly know the same for them.