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Geoff Sobelle

Sept 13–16

Runtime TBA

$15 – $35

Philadelphia Film CenterMap

Wheelchair Accessible

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“Things appear, disappear, change, transform, erode, and by the time you’ve wrapped your head around it, things have changed again.” Geoff Sobelle

“Sobelle’s work is astonishing, his insights acutely funny, his timing impeccable and his physical execution admirable.” SF Gate 

The story of HOME is the lifecycle of a house. And the many dreams of home cast upon it.

On stage, a house appears. It goes up with the speed of time-lapse photography. Residents move in, move out, get evicted, burn it down, loot it, rent it, remodel it, get married and divorced in it, grow up in it, die in it, haunt it—and all the while, they leave and live among traces of residents present, past, and future. This large-scale performance mixes illusion, choreography, live music, construction, homespun engineering, and live documentary to create the messiness of life that transforms a house into a home.

From the creator of The Object Lesson is a performance both virtuosic in its theatricality yet startlingly down-to-earth in the lifelike world it creates around its audience. HOME is a glorious meditation on the transitory nature of dwelling, the constraints of time and money, the impossible structural demands of a house, the absurdity—and at times the impossibility—of making a home.

Created by Geoff Sobelle Set Steven Dufala Directed by Lee Sunday Evans Original Music Elvis Perkins Lights Chris Kuhl Sound Brandon Wolcott Costumes Karen Young Illusion Consultant Steve Cuiffo Choreography David Neumann Dramaturgy Stefanie Sobelle Creative Consultant Julian Crouch Production Stage Manager Lisa McGinn Produced by Jecca Barry for Beth Morrison Projects Creators/Performers Geoff Sobelle, Sophie Bortolussi, Jennifer Kidwell, Justin Rose, Ching Valdes-Aran, Elvis Perkins, Josh Crouch

$35 general / $24.50 member (Click here to join and save 30% on tickets to all shows!)
$15 student + 25-and-under

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HOME is commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music, New Zealand Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival. HOME is funded in part by The Wyncote Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Adam Max, Garth Patil and Jeanne Donovan Fisher and received developmental support from Lumberyard, formerly ADI.  Residency support provided by ArtsEmerson, Pennsylvania State University, BRIC and MANA Contemporary.  

Previous Fringe includes: The Object LessonElephant Room, Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl.

Festival Star Producers Mark & Tobey Dichter Festival Executive Producers David Seltzer & Lisa Roberts Festival Producers Carol Klein & Lawrence Spitz Festival Co-Producers Shelley Green & Michael Golden

Photos: Maria Baranova

About Geoff Sobelle

Geoff Sobelle is an actor, director and maker of absurdist performance works. His work under the name Rainpan43 includes: all wear bowlers (Innovative Theatre Award, Drama Desk nomination), Amnesia Curiosamachines machines machines machines machines machines machines (Obie award, design), and Elephant Room. His independent work includes Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl (Edinburgh Fringe First Award) and The Object Lesson (Bessie Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Carol Tambor Award, Total Theatre Award, The New York Times Critics Pick). He was a company member of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company from 2001 to 2012. Geoff is a graduate of Stanford University and trained in physical theatre at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Sobelle was last at FringeArts with Pandaenomium (2016).

Interview with Geoff Sobelle


FringeArts: Do you remember how the title HOME came into being?

Geoff Sobelle: The first working title was “House and Home.”  I was/am interested in the difference between those two words. How we confuse them. My sister—with whom I lived for the first seventeen years of my life or so—is the dramaturg. She likes to poke fun at the old adage from The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home,”- because she says, and rightly so, that home is not a place. It’s something else . . . so indeed, there IS no PLACE like home! House and Home eventually became shortened to HOME because it became more and more of what I was curious about—the comfort and also the alienation of something called home. Coming back to home can be like a warm bath, but also can be strange. And then—if not a place—what is home? This piece seeks to awaken that question in the audience.

FringeArts: How are you working with audience participation? In a practical sense, but also the artistic/experiential sense—how you are not just having “participation” but how you are involving the audience as part of the theatrical experience.

Geoff Sobelle: That’s a great question, and really at the heart of this project. I wanted to make a really large group piece—like 35 people or so—to have a kind of view of people and their acts of dwelling like you’d watch an ant farm. Something zoological. And also different time periods—all of the residents of a given address over time—but all there at the same time. Chaos! But I could not at first really conceive of how to effectively tour with such a large company. And then I thought again about the audience. I have an ongoing passion/confusion/obsession with working with an unprepared audience. I think that it can often be challenging, but that there might be a way—if great care and respect is taken—that it might be very beautiful.

FringeArts: During rehearsals and the creative work with your fellow performers and designers, what have your conversations centered around?

Geoff Sobelle: I suppose we mostly talk about space and audience, if I had to identify the theme . . . about how space can dictate behavior—the connection between architecture/design and how we move and inhabit . . . but we often end up talking about our own histories of dwelling, memories of growing up, things that come back to us as we work. Houses are strange, they are all rather haunted. And as we move through Steven Dufala’s house on the stage, we all are also moving through the many rooms of many sorts that we have all called home. It is a curious kind of memory palace—and new corners are illuminated every time we explore.

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