This production, directed with a spontaneous air of seamlessness by Lee Sunday Evans, appears to keep pulling apparitions out of air, just as your mind does when it’s feeling tired and unguarded. That semi-waking feeling I mentioned above is given full, fluid life early on in the display, and it involves bit more than a simple one bed, the middle-aged Mr. Sobelle and interchangeable alter-egos who add a towheaded boy, a woman and a mature woman.
The complete sequence lasts maybe 5 minutes, and yet it feels as though it covers not just your daily life but those of at least several other people as well. And, oh, you know that various other unnerving staple of nighttime fantasies, the one in which you’re in a open public place in your underwear?
Mr. Sobelle offers that one covered (or uncovered), also, as he stands centre stage in his light boxers and T-shirt, modestly draping himself in sheer plastic material tarpaulins, looking both slightly alarmed and supremely regal. Watching him in such occasions, you’re sure to think an embarrassed empathy for Mr. Sobelle, awash within your own instinctive fears to be on undignified and unprotected screen.
Not to fret, though. Mr. Sobelle will shortly have a whole house – custom built, room by room, before your astonished eye – to shelter him. But how much of a sanctuary is a residence, any house, finally?
Looked at from a longer view, which is how Mr. Sobelle’s vision gets results, it’s only a temporary refuge by which many travelers are probably destined to pass. Concerning any illusions you might have about the permanence of where you lay your hat, well, remember that anything that could be assembled could be leveled even more quickly.
I actually wasn’t speaking in metaphors about this house being built onstage. At the center of Steven Dufala’s uncanny established for “Residence” is a two-history suburban-style dwelling (with complete kitchen and bathroom). While you look at it being put together, it still appears to materialize of the shadows, similar to the place you once resided with Dad and mom, as it shows up in your dreams.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this house is private house. This construction belongs if not to the ages, at least to many successive generations of tenants.
These folks go about their daily business of brushing their teeth, taking out the garbage, unclogging the toilet, changing dresses and storing the groceries, just as you or I would on the average, boring day. However they perform it in multiples, so that as much as seven persons are inhabiting the house simultaneously, performing quite similar tasks, but unacquainted with one another’s existence.
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And that’s before items get really crowded.
“Residence” admits to a cast of only seven, including Mr. Sobelle. That is a deceptive quantity. You are a cast member, also, whether you wind up on the level or not. (And become warned: that is clearly a possibility, but nothing which involves you in your underwear.)
A highly skilled creative team, which include Christopher Kuhl (light) and Brandon Wolcott (sound), extends the borders of the work’s title property through subliminal sensory effects. After all, as Mr. Sobelle highlights in a written introduction in the program, there’s grounds that theaters are referred to as houses; they are places where we settle in for a spell, as occupants and owners of chairs we presumptuously think about as “ours.”
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When you are not the first person ever to live where you are living right now, “Home” is guaranteed to elicit a familiar perception of being haunted. Definitely on some level, conscious or not, you’ve considered the existences that preceded yours in this place, and experienced both their weight and their ephemerality.
Those who want anchors of annotation with their artistic activities will be very happy to learn that this production includes a alto-harp and guitar-strumming troubadour in the form of Elvis Perkins, who shows up to sing gnomically of the follies of identifying too closely with our places of residence.
Mr. Perkins offers a specific droll charm. But also for me, his presence was superfluous. Mr. Sobelle and business have landscaped their ghost house so precisely as an of-the-instant phenomenon that no explanation is required.
And as I viewed the (spoiler) ruins of what was once a sturdy edifice as the display concluded, I cast a prophetic thought toward them, one I knew will be fulfilled: “I’ll find you in my own dreams.”