Pop-up theatre is an edgy idea for the official Festival, but on stage at the King’s this week is a kind of pop-up theatre, a stage setting built from scratch.
â€œHomeâ€ is a slow burn of a play which looks at the whole concept of home, the events that take place in a house, the different generations of people who live in that house, the way a house can alter over the years. But first you must build your house.
Geoff Sobelle is the creator of this piece, but collaborators include designer Steven Dufela, director Lee Sunday Evans and Stefanie Sobelle. The start of the play is low key to say the least. We watch the frame being brought on stage, carefully covered in plastic, set in place. More construction added, all wordlessly, no music.
Bit by bit we have a house. Furniture is moved in, people arrive. In an upstairs section is a bed, from which gradually emerge people who shower, come downstairs, breakfast. It becomes evident these are different eras of occupancy we are seeing simultaneously.
So far not a word. A radio is turned on. Then bit by bit the action is cranked up. Preparations for a party are underway, music gets livelier and livelier and suddenly the action spills out into the audience. Lights are strung across the auditorium, people are invited on stage, wine is poured, dancing and chatter breaks out. A panoply of celebration passes before us – birthday, wedding, graduation, Christmas, even a wake. And in this way the history of a house and a home is created.
Music is crucial for atmosphere in this piece, with commentary songs from Elvis Perkins and his auto harp, and a brass band that arrives in the theatre boxes. Itâ€™s a highly original work of art, hugely enjoyable, but perhaps marred by being over long. There is no interval in almost 2 hours, and I must admit to a certain ennui while the house was being built. In true to life fashion building work always goes on far too long!
Kings Theatre until Sunday 26th
Photo credit Hillarie Jason