What makes a house a home?
“The difference between those two words is really where this show begins,” Geoff Sobelle, creator of the Bessie Award-winning theatrical production "HOME", said
This thematic question underlies the show that will grace the Memorial Hall stage at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.
The performance follows the life cycle of a house. It begins with one person on stage and then develops into an intricate narrative that intertwines the lives of residents past, present and future. People move in, move out, face eviction, get married, get divorced, burn it down, remodel, grow up, die and haunt the house.
“The show is really a kind of choreography of the domestic. It's a show that shows the dance of our daily lives,” Stefanie Sobelle, Geoff Sobelle’s sister and dramaturgy of "HOME", said.
The show challenges its audience to think about all the people that came before them and all the people who will come after, Geoff Sobelle said.
We all leave marks on the places we live, as our homes all have different dynamics, he said.
“I actually contend with the bad choices or good choices of the people that came before me, who I really don't spend a whole lot of time imagining or thinking about, and they sure as hell didn't think about me,” he said. “But really what I thought of as my house, they thought was their house. And there we were in the same space, just we were dislocated in time.”
“HOME” was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music and debuted in fall 2017. It was originally intended to come to UNC in 2020 but was canceled due to the pandemic.
“We're so thrilled to have Geoff Sobelle’s amazing work here at Carolina now, because we wanted to have it in 2020,” Jana Jackson, director of marketing and communications for Carolina Performing Arts, said. “It was one of those things that we couldn't not have here at Carolina and in Chapel Hill.”
Jackson said “HOME” fits in perfectly with the 2022-23 performance season, which revolves around themes of gathering, joy, belonging, interconnectedness and “searching for the elusive ‘we,’” Jackson said.
The performance in Chapel Hill proves timely, as discussion of affordable housing and safe spaces has been increasingly relevant.
“There's the kind of larger philosophical idea that we're all occupying spaces and we're all there for a little while," Stefanie Sobelle said. "And then there's the more real, practical idea that housing is not something we can take for granted."
Before the performance itself begins in Memorial Hall, there will be a pre-performance discussion in Gerrard Hall starting at 7:00 p.m. about what it means to have a home.
Stefanie Sobelle will speak alongside Jennifer Player, president and CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, and Starshea Taylor, a new Habitat homeowner and a supervisor at UNC’s Lenoir Dining Hall.
“‘HOME’, this production that we have now, really touches on the current housing dilemmas, both locally and globally,” Jackson said.
Tickets are available for purchase from Carolina Performing Arts for $20 to $35. Discounted $10 student tickets are available with a valid UNC One Card.
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