In the summer of 2010, I had the honor to collaborate with an English-speaking theater group, HoME, that creates and performs ‘site-specific theater’ in Prague. As the name implies, they perform in people’s homes. In this case, they temporarily took over my studio at Gallery Hunger and my roommate’s adjacent spaces in a performance simply called Hunger. The performance was then recreated for three nights at the Alfréd ve dvoře theatre in Prague.
About the Project
“DoMA / at HoME changes format in response to the varied spaces it encounters and the people who live there. … The team intensely researches the space and its inhabitants over several days. Then they prepare an hour-long performance about the nature of the space and the lives of the people who live in it, using a combination of prepared material that adapts to fit the space, completely new material based on the apartment and people living in it, and improvisation. The objects, colors, smells, books, and floor-plans, together with events from the hosts’ lives become the language of the performance.”
The DoMA/ at HoME project won the Next Wave award for Project/Performance of the Year in alternative theatre in the Czech Republic in 2006.
Everything listed in the project-description above actually happened. The actors came to talk with us and drew inspiration from the space itself and from how we used it. At the time, we ran the Artist’s Way courses there, so this became one of the major themes of the segment that took place in my work-space, as well as my flower photographs and other objects found in the room. Even our cat had a part, simply refusing to leave his favorite spot simply because of a performance.
Just being around this group was amazing – seeing them all work together with absolute discipline, yet supporting one another’s free thinking and ideas. Hats-off to the man behind this project, director, actor and drama teacher, Howard Lotker, who has both a sense of direction and great sense of humor. Likewise, Phillip Schenker and Chip Persons, who mainly acted out the other parts in the play. These guys are not just great professionals, but a riot to be around.
I spent a great deal of time with Mexican dancer, choreographer and actress, Cristina Maldonaldo, who thoroughly ‘researched me.’ Initially, Cristina was concerned about how differently we appear, until I told her that in my dreams I’d always had an image of myself that looked very different, possibly Italian, with dark complexion and black hair. We decided she would not represent me as a person, but rather as my alter-ego, my inner-self.
It was also very fitting that she represented me through dance. Dance is the one form of expression I cannot use professionally, because I lack training, but for me it’s more natural than writing or design. As we developed our vision, things began to unfold and fall into place with almost mystical speed, circumstances connecting, symbols appearing. She ended up dancing in my blue wedding-dress, which magically fit her perfectly, despite our size differences.
I’m not sure the audience picked up on the myriad of symbols and gestures within the performance, but for me it was amazing. Cristina choreographed a small segment, where she and I mirrored each others’ movements. Then I literally watched my inner-self dance in front of me, in my wedding dress, shedding a blonde wig halfway through the performance to reveal black curls, making fans from the peacock-feathers I’d ‘accidentally’ been given a few months earlier (I explain their significance in an Iridescent Quill section).
Actor Chip Persons then introduced another line of the performance with quotes and thoughts on creativity. Picking up on the flower theme, he ‘watered’ the audience members from our rusty old watering can, somehow symbolically spreading good vibes. At the end, we said goodbye to our audience by letting them randomly pick cards with quotes about art and creativity. Something small to take home and remember. I certainly will. Thank you all!
The at HoME group gathers and performs quite randomly, so if you hear of an upcoming show, you certainly want to see it. Wherever it will be, it’s bound to be fun.
More at http://divadlohome.net/
Cristina Maldonaldo occasionally comes back to the Czech Republic for performances and she runs very interesting dance workshops, called Kinergia.