'Nobody's Home' is a bedroom drama that plays out ... in bedrooms
When Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews comes to town, he doesn't just ask friends if he can crash on their couch.
He also wants to borrow their bedroom as a performance space for his site-specific work “Nobody's Home.” The piece is touring the country one bedroom at a time.
Andrews is the founder of the Medium Theatre Company, a Philadelphia-based collaborative of artists who create site-specific performances. The company is stopping in Pittsburgh from March 28 to 30 for three performances of “Nobody's Home” in three locations around the city.
Andrews directed and designed the show, which he co-authored with Mason Rosenthal, who appears as the Nobody of the title.
The work grew out of Rosenthal's desire to do a show in his own 12-foot by 12-foot bedroom, inspired by the guided-meditation techniques of German spiritual leader and author Eckhart Tolle.
“When the meditation goes wrong, the play turns into a relationship drama, then a game show and a high-school dance,” Andrews says. “The show is very funny even when it gets serious. A lot of people don't know whether they should laugh or cry.”
Andrews and Rosenthal don't drive, so they use public transportation to travel from city to city and bedroom to bedroom. That required them to restrict the show's technical elements to items that could fit into a single trunk that travels with them.
Props include a shadowy owl, some plastic turtles, a coyote, hot oil and platters of fruit. There are sound effects and choreography. Tea is served.
“The show utilizes all the senses. When you use all five senses, you are more engaged,” Andrews says.
Why choose a bedroom?
“Bedrooms create a certain kind of intimacy,” Andrews says.
The show has performed for as many as 40 in an individual audience. But Andrews prefers to limit attendees to from 10 to 20 people. And it makes it easy to get a full house on short notice, he says.
The show had its world premiere last June in Rosenthal's bedroom and has since played in bedrooms in Philadelphia; Skokie, Illinois; at Haverford College near Philadelphia; and in a recreational vehicle at the New Orleans Fringe Festival.
“It changes the show from place to place,” says Andrews, who points out that finding people willing to host a play in their bedrooms hasn't been a problem.
Many volunteers, like Kate Wendland Duncan, are people who already know Rosenthal, Andrews or their work.
“I have known Morgan for 17 years and got to see him in all of his many creative pursuits, which have always been jaw-dropping,” says Duncan, who recently relocated to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia.
“I find Morgan really inspiring,” she says. “I'm excited that his touring theater is going in a new-to-me direction and can't wait to see what he's doing with it.”
Duncan thought the production would be an unofficial housewarming party for her new home.
“It gives me a date by which I need to have everything set up,” she says. “What it needs to warm it up is a play — in my bedroom.”
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.