Home, by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil

    HOME: a hybrid puppetry/theatre play by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil (Evolve Company)


    HOME is a hybrid theatre/puppetry play that is on schedule to have its NYC premiere in Spring of 2019. It features a dynamic team of creatives including writer/director/puppetry designers Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil (aka Evolve Puppets), set designer Tom Lee (SHANK’S MARE, THE SCARLET IBIS), projection designer Jared Mezzocchi (Obie and Lucille Lortel winner for VIETGONE), associate director/movement consultant Lake Simons (Basil Twist’s SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE and Lincoln Center’s WAR HORSE), lighting designer Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominee for KPOP) and composer Joel Phillip Friedman (Outer Critic’s Circle and Drama Desk nominee).

    HOME centers on Alice, an older archaeologist, who has spent her life learning about long-dead civilizations from the artifacts they’ve left behind. Late one night, two strange men in old-fashioned clothing appear in her kitchen. They are, for lack of a better term, guardian angels: an older man who has watched over Alice’s family for centuries, and is now teaching his younger companion what it means to be human. One of these angels’ most important jobs is to take stars (souls) from the sky and place them into the bodies of humans born on earth, and to take the stars from the bodies of dying people and place them back in the sky, allowing them to pass into the afterlife.

    In vignettes that leap back and forth through time and space, Alice shares memories of her daughter Julia, both as a sullen teenager preparing a school report on Pompeii, and a five-year-old child reveling in the attention of her loving father, the unconventional paleo-artist and diorama maker Albert. Albert is the kind of father who builds huge working volcano models as birthday gifts, and straps plywood to his feet to surprise his daughter with woolly mammoth footprints in the snow. But his whimsical nature deteriorates into an illness which robs him of his memory and takes him from the family. Alice experiences visions of white, plastery Pompeiians in their last moments alive, and living dinosaurs turning to fossils — reflections of the ephemerality of life. But she also looks back at her sweet, strange courtship with Albert, their life with their daughter, and how they used their love of the worlds of the past to show Julia how we are all connected, and how no one ever really dies. We just go back to the dust that surrounds everyone and everything.

    We all put our memories into objects – a deceased loved one’s necktie, a beloved childhood stuffed toy, even a house itself. Alice’s house is brought to life by the power of memory — photos and paintings on the walls become animate; porcelain dolls and plush toys are puppeteered by the ensemble; projected “dust” flows through scenes and forms moving images, singing in the voices of the people the dust once was; furniture and appliances travel around the space, opening, turning and flipping over to reveal detailed portrayals of worlds from the past, like dioramas from a natural history museum. HOME is a strongly integrated collaboration between multiple styles of puppetry (including bunraku-inspired puppets, shadow puppetry and object manipulation), projection design, scenic design, lighting design, music, voice and choreography. All of these mediums convene and coalesce with each other, allowing Alice’s story to be told by the very contents of her home.

    EVOLVE PUPPETS (TANYA KHORDOC & BARRY WEIL) (Playwrights/Directors/Puppetry Design) have been fixtures in NYC’s indie theater scene for more than 20 years. HOME received a 2011 Jim Henson Foundation Grant for its initial development, was presented as part of the Puppetry at the Carriage House program, and was shown as a work-in-progress at NYC’s Dixon Place. Evolve created the world premiere production of former Czech President Vàclav Havel’s play MOTORMORPHOSIS for UTC61’s Havel Festival at the Ohio Theater in 2006, and were visited backstage by President Havel himself. They created puppets and models for UTC61’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s CAT’S CRADLE, and served as puppetry designers and associate producers for Theater East’s production of DEVIL AND THE DEEP, a musical co-written by Graham Russell of Air Supply. Evolve has also performed many original works (written, designed and directed by Tanya & Barry) at venues that include HERE, La MaMa, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Brick, and The Puppeteers of America National Festival. evolvepuppets.com

    TOM LEE (Set Design) began his career at La MaMa Experimental Theater in New York with the encouragement of Ellen Stewart and, later, the St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab. His original puppet theater work includes SHANK’S MARE (La MaMa, Japan Tour), HOPLITE DIARY (St. Ann’s, La MaMa), PUNCH OF THE DEAD (St. Ann’s Puppet Lab), ODYSSEUS & AJAX (La MaMa) and KO’OLAU (La MaMa/Hawai’i tour). Tom has directed & designed puppetry for GIANTS ARE SMALL with the New York Philharmonic, the Prototype Festival production of THE SCARLET IBIS, and for the National Asian American Theatre Company, among others. tomleeprojects.com

    JARED MEZZOCCHI (Projection Design) received his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts at Brooklyn College. He is currently on faculty at University of Maryland, College Park, where he leads the projection design track in the MFA Design program. In 2012, he received the prestigious Princess Grace Award, the first projection designer to be honored with this national theater award. In 2017, he received the first Lucille Lortel Award for the category of Outstanding Projection design (VIETGONE, written by Qui Nguyen and directed by May Adrales, at Manhattan Theater Club). Alongside the Lucille Lortel, Jared was also a recipient of a 2017 Obie Award, and 2017 nominee for an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama Desk Award. www.jaredmezzocchi.com

    LAKE SIMONS (Associate Director/Movement Consultant) is a director, designer, choreographer, puppeteer, builder, painter, and performer. Lake was one of four Americans invited to collaborate with Koryu Nishikawa V of the Kuruma-Ningyo Puppet Theatre in Japan. She has appeared in productions by Christopher Williams, Dan Hurlin, Matt Acheson, Chris Green, Mabou Mines, Patti Bradshaw, and internationally renowned puppeteer Basil Twist’s 20th anniversary run of SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE in NYC. She served as a puppetry associate for the Lincoln Center Broadway production of WAR HORSE, and assistant movement and puppetry director for the national tour. Lake teaches set design and puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College. www.lakesimons.com

    JEANETTE OI-SUK YEW (Lighting Design) designs for theater, dance, opera, musical and music performances and installation. The New York Times described her work as “clever” and “inventive.” Recent: Drama Desk & Lucille Lortel nominee for Woodshed Collective & Jason Kim’s KPOP at Ars Nova, Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ SILENT VOICES at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Kamala Sankaram’s THUMBPRINT with LA Opera, Tan Dun’s WATER PASSION with MET Museum, Aya Ogawa’s LUDIC PROXY (Bel Geddes Design Enhancement award), Torry Bend’s THE PAPER HAT GAME (Drama Desk nomination), Matthew Paul Olmos’ SO GO THE GHOSTS OF MEXICO PART ONE (Best Lighting Design nomination) and Erik Ehn’s commemorative cycle SOULOGRAPHIE: OUR GENOCIDES. Recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program. jeanetteyew.com.

    JOEL PHILLIP FRIEDMAN (Composer). Joel’s music has been heard in venues from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, Bargemusic, National Sawdust, Joe’s Pub and the 92nd St. Y, to theaters Off-Broadway and the London West End (PERSONALS, which he co-authored), to film festivals (scoring the film RED ICE, featured at SF IndieFest and the Chicago Horror film festivals). Joel has received awards and fellowships from ASCAP, Montalvo Arts Center, the MacDowell Colony, the Society of Composers, the New Music Orchestral Project, John Duffy Composers Institute, and nominations from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards. www.joelfriedman.com