Home, by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil

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

    Home, by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil (original score composed by Joel Phillip Friedman)

    Evolve Puppets is raising money to produce the fully-revised version of our puppetry & theatre piece "Home" in 2018.

     New York, NY
    This is a Fiscally-Sponsored Project

    Fiscally Sponsored by Fractured Atlas

    Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil’s Home is a hybrid theatre and puppetry piece, an Our Town for the 21st Century.  Home is the story of Alice, a sixtysomething 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’s watched over Alice’s family for centuries, and is now teaching his younger companion what it means to be human.
    Alice, the men, and an ensemble of other celestial beings use the dolls and artifacts in her home, and the diorama-like worlds of the past found within her cabinets and furniture, to perform Alice’s life as a large-scale puppet show.  We all put our memories into objects – a deceased loved one’s necktie, a beloved childhood stuffed toy – and through her own objects, Alice relives her life story and the ways that her existence has connected to everything from the dinosaurs, to the people of ancient Pompeii, and finally, her beloved husband and daughter, and a grandchild she may never meet.
    Home is both plain-spoken and cosmic in the manner of Thornton Wilder or Wim Wenders, but communicates its story as much through the visual as the spoken word.  Plush toy woolly mammoths share the stage with glowing, internally lit castings of Pompeiians.  Large porcelain dolls with very human glass eyes act as figures of memory, interacting with each other and the human performers.  People breathe out dust that coalesces into the living things the dust used to be – projections of animated dinosaurs, humans and land-walking fish.  Ordinary-looking furniture opens, turns or flips over to reveal detailed portrayals of a world from the past, the strata underground, or a memory brought to life.  Shadow puppetry, bunraku-inspired rod puppetry, object manipulation and mask theatre are all used to allow Alice’s story to be told by the very contents of her home.
    In 2011, when Home was in its earliest stages, we were awarded a project grant from The Jim Henson Foundation.  With this, and a residency at the Henson Annex Carriage House, we were able to mount a small developmental presentation as part of Jane Henson’s Puppetry at the Carriage House program.  Jane Henson and a number of puppetry professionals were in attendance, and gave us amazing feedback on how to move the piece forward.  Later that year, after a number of rewrites, we tried a second one-night presentation at NYC’s Dixon Place, which also taught us a great deal about the piece and what it should (and shouldn’t) be.  Though other projects have taken precedence in the years since, we haven’t given up on trying to finish Home and present it in the way we’ve always felt it deserved to be seen.
    During a 2016 writing intensive with puppeteer/playwright Ronnie Burkett at the O’Neill Puppetry Pre-Conference, we began developing a new version of the script that dramatically increased the visual content of the piece, and also streamlined the story.  Shortly thereafter, we sent the script to composer Joel Phillip Friedman, who was excited by what he had read and agreed to come aboard the project.
    We recently held a reading of the script, which featured puppeteers Fergus J. Walsh (who had played the younger “angel” in both of our developmental versions), Joshua Holden, Jenny Hann and Christine Schisano.  Based on the feedback we got from the attendees and performers at that reading, we jumped into further rewrites, and now we feel that Home is ready to become the show we always hoped it could be.
    We have begun interviewing costume and set design candidates, are already doing new sculptures and are ready to begin building additional puppets and objects.  Our next steps will include workshopping puppet sequences with a team of local puppeteers, casting the show, and entering the rehearsal process.  We have also been in talks with several venues in New York City about becoming a home for Home in 2018.
    EVOLVE PUPPETS, led by Co-Artistic Directors Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil,have been fixtures in NYC’s indie theater scene for more than 20 years, creating and performing works such as Secrets History Remembers (at Great Small Works’ 10th Annual Toy Theater Festival at St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, and the Puppeteers of America 2009 National Festival in Atlanta), The Most Radiant Beauty: An Einsteinian Collage, Becoming, Evolution, Mercy, The Wizard of Ounces (at HERE Arts Center and La MaMa)and more.  Evolve received a 2011 Jim Henson Foundation Grant for the initial development of Home, and created the world premiere production of former Czech President Vàclav Havel’s play Motormorphosis for UTC61’s Havel Festival at the Ohio Theater, where they were visited 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 new musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (written by Graham Russell of Air Supply, Katie McGhee of Of Eden, and playwright Melissa Bell), for which they created a series of innovative puppets with internal LED lighting.  They have also led puppetry and performance workshops for multiple organizations including Girl Be Heard.  www.evolvepuppets.com
    TANYA KHORDOC (Co-Author/Director/Puppet Design) has performed, designed, and directed puppet theater at venues such as HERE Arts Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Puppeteers of America National Festival, the Eugene O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, and the Children's Museum of Manhattan.  She has collaborated with UTC61 in the 24/7 Festival and on Unauthorized Magic in Oz.  Tanya designed and performed a one-woman show written by Edward Einhorn about synesthesia, entitled The Taste of Blue.  She collaborated with Obie and Lucille Lortel award winner Jared Mezzocchi (Vietgone) on stop-motion animation sequences for Hiroshima: Crucible of Light.  Tanya is also the puppeteer and voice of the character “Phoenix” in the children’s webshow Rosie’s Place.
    BARRY WEIL (Co-Author/Director/Puppet Design) is an actor, playwright, director, educator and graphic designer in addition to his work as a puppeteer and character creator.  He has created puppets and masks for many NYC theater productions, including The Steampunk Haunted House, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Unauthorized Magic in Oz, Screaming Shrubbery, Uktena, Funny as a Crutch, Mister Mantis: The Dance of the Praying Mantis and Feast of the Dead.  He has inhabited (and often built) the man-eating plant for multiple productions of the musical Little Shop of Horrors, and played the role of Frank Honniker/Puppeteer in Untitled Theater Company #61’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle at Soho’s Walkerspace.  In addition, Barry is the theatre coordinator for Levels, the Great Neck Library’s acclaimed teen cultural center.
    JOEL PHILLIP FRIEDMAN (Original Music).  Joel’s music has been performed by gifted musicians and ensembles including: Paul Neubauer, Teng Li, Derek Smith, and Andrew Gonzalez, viola; Susan Narucki, soprano; pianists Alan Feinberg, Stephen Gosling, and Evelyne Luest; cellists Joshua Roman and Fred Sherry; Jason Alexander, actor/singer; conductors Barbara Day Turner, Jorge Mester, Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, and Angel Gil-Ordóñez; Speculum Musicae, the National Orchestral Association, the New York Chamber Ensemble, the New Orchestra of Washington, and the San José Chamber Orchestra.  Joel’s work 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 (his film score for a full-length supernatural thriller, 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, Meet the Composer, the American College Theater Festival, and nominations from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards.  www.joelfriedman.com
    Your donation will support:
    ARTIST FEES – We want to do right by our composer, performers, designers, stage manager and production team and make sure they’re compensated for their work.
    SET, COSTUMES, PUPPETS & PROPS - Materials and labor for building all the physical elements of the show.
    MUSIC RECORDING – To pay for musicians and studio time so Joel’s work can be heard at its best.
    MARKETING AND PUBLICITY - To make sure people can see the work you’ve helped us to create.
             “Motormorphosis, directed, designed and performed by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil, is a funny puppet piece that brings to mind Ionesco’s Rhinoceros...the two puppeteers interpreting all the roles provide the show with style, unity and graceful speed.” 
    -- Saviana Stanescu, nytheatre.com
    "Charming and fun to watch....The artists take the audience on journeys that are insightful and invigorating as well as enjoyable.  The Most Radiant Beauty is billed as 'an Einsteinian collage in found text.'  Khordoc and Weil have created a toy theater adventure that takes audiences through the words and thoughts of Albert Einstein and other brilliant people (Galileo, Copernicus, Oppenheimer, Newton, and Curie, to name just five).  Stories from the Bible (of creation, Cain and Abel) are interspersed with quotations from these various scientists, who ponder the nature of what's knowable and the awesome responsibilities of dabbling with elements of nature (radium, the atom) that could well destroy the world as we know it...[It's] a stream-of-consciousness stroll through Big Ideas, with puppets, lightboxes, lightbulbs, shadow figures, and more as our guides.  Khordoc and Weil translate their own sense of wonder beautifully, and help us see and hear familiar concepts anew as a result."
    -- Martin Denton, nytheater.com 
    “Kudos…to Tanya Khordoc and Barry Weil for their brilliant puppet creations.”
    -- Sam Affoumado, Theaterlife.com
    “...there are many moments which are marvelous in their ingenuity. A shining example is the character Cap’n Flint (Skyler Volpe), a talking parrot brought to life through the use of a puppet. With a gorgeous and life-like puppet at her disposal -- designed by puppet masters Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil, Volpe jaunts across the stage humorously, and is the catalyst for many moments of joy and laughter in the production."
    -- Ryan Mikita, Theaterscene.net

    “…because the show takes place in many different settings, [director Edward] Einhorn was wise to hire Tanya Khordoc and Barry Weil of the Evolve Company. They solved the multiple set problem by building scale models, and then employing a videographer to zero in on each, and project the immensely larger image on the back wall. To quote [Vonnegut’s character] Bokonon, 'Nice, nice; very nice.'”
    -- Theatermania.com
    “…the scientist’s son Franklin (the solid Barry Weil, who doubles as a puppeteer)…aims a video camera at small-scale models of the story’s settings, images of which appear simultaneously at the back of the stage.”
    -- Andy Webster, The New York Times
    "One of the more creative aspects of the show is how it sets up the various locations. There is a tall rack of shelves sitting upstage on which there are scale models of the locales. A camera on a stick is moved around the models while the picture is projected on a...screen behind the action. These models, designed by Tanya Khordoc and Barry Weil, are very detailed and quite beautiful."
    -- Richard Hinojosa, nytheatre.com 
    Everyone who donates will have our utmost gratitude. But that’s not all!  In honor of Alice the archaeologist, we’re offering you a series of rewards, each named after a different geological period!  Take a look!


    Cambrian Layer

    Donate $15.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    We’ll give you a “thank you” on social media and in the program at the show’s premiere!

    Ordovician Layer

    Donate $25.00 or more

    Amount over $2.00 is tax-deductible.

    An “Evolve Puppets” button perfect for pinning on jackets, backpacks, etc.  Plus, the perk listed above.

    Silurian Layer

    Donate $40.00 or more

    Amount over $6.00 is tax-deductible.

    A limited-edition Evolve shadow-scene bookmark, crafted personally by us, and both perks listed above.

    Devonian Layer

    Donate $75.00 or more

    Amount over $12.00 is tax-deductible.

    Evolve Puppets’ pop-up, light-up house card, crafted personally by us.  An amazing decoration and conversation piece.  Plus everything listed above!

    Carboniferous Layer

    Donate $100.00 or more

    Amount over $18.00 is tax-deductible.

    An Evolve butterfly rod-puppet, crafted personally by us.  Be a puppeteer!  Plus everything listed above!

    Permian Layer

    Donate $200.00 or more

    Amount over $28.00 is tax-deductible.

    Our beautiful “The dust is in us, and we are in it” t-shirt, specially designed after a piece of concept art from “Home”.  Plus everything listed above!

    Triassic Layer

    Donate $500.00 or more

    Amount over $42.00 is tax-deductible.

    An Evolve Puppets logo mug for your morning coffee, pencils or what have you.  Plus everything listed above!

    Jurassic Layer

    Donate $1,000.00 or more

    Amount over $65.00 is tax-deductible.

    An original piece of collage art by one of Evolve Puppets’ Artistic Directors, suitable for framing.  Plus everything listed above!

    Cretaceous Layer

    Donate $5,000.00 or more

    Amount over $65.00 is tax-deductible.

    Associate Producer Credit in our program, plus everything listed above!