In a couple days (Thursday, October 28) a new multi-disciplinary performance piece exploring the meaning of ‘home’ will open in the Theatre Passe Muraille backspace. The piece, called Homeland, is an interplay of fiction and reality, scripted fictional performance interacting with documentary film.
It’s a snapshot of our lives, divided between two or more worlds.
Homeland is described as a multi-faceted examination of the meaning of home in a hybrid setting of dance, live music and documentary film. The spoken, and at times unspoken, words of the personalities in the film are translated into a solo dance and physical theatre against the beat of drums and flow of electronic sequences performed by two musicians on stage. This contemplative journey of words, sounds, and movements, makes one rethink the definition of home.
It combines two parallel worlds: the experience of real people in the documentary film and the imaginary world of the characters of the play. They both share one story: the story of finding home. By integrating documentary film and theatre, writer and director Setareh Delzendeh creates a cohesive performance where stories are told on the stage in both forms.
Words and images of the film and live music are woven seamlessly into the performance. The show in its totality is a series of interior monologues, out loud thoughts, and impressions. The physical theatre/dance component of the show is about a woman’s struggle with identity and nationality crisis.
The story is an attempt to take a closer look at the complexities of the human experience. The fictional character is the reflective image of the real people in the film. She appears on stage while the film is being screened, and complements the narrative of the real characters.
From writer/director Setareh Delzendeh:
Delzendeh tells us that she wants “the audience to be my companions on this meditative journey. I desire them to rethink the definition of home and add their own to the already existing ones.’
The question of torn identities preoccupied Delzendeh long before she immigrated to Canada from Iran, when she witnessed mass exodus of her fellow countrymen. “Ever since I came to Toronto, it became more compelling to me. I can’t help but ask myself time and time again ‘Where is home? What does home mean? Is it a physical entity? Do I have a place called home? Do I have multiple homes? How do I define my identity?’ The longer I live in the new home, the more I feel the need to redefine my reality.”
She tells us that the project started off as a research on the meaning of home. “I started a documentary film in which I interviewed people from a wide array of backgrounds, asking them to share their personal thoughts and feelings on home. I then transformed the words of the people in the film into dance/physical theatre on stage accompanied by live music.”
The result is a live performance that accompanies a documentary film. “I think I would describe the show as non-theatre, in the sense that it does not follow the conventions of linearity and storytelling, yet it employs the magic of the stage to recount the plural narratives of the characters of the film and mine,” says Delzendeh. “Film and music are used as theatrical elements in this show. I felt restricted in telling the story through any one of these media, so I chose this hybrid language to paint a more cohesive picture.”
The people interviewed in the film believe are believed to have ‘hyphenated’ identities; people whose place of birth becomes a recurring question to themselves and others. At-home-ness to them means Canada, Japan, Norway, Iran, Austria, US, Ethiopia, Colombia, Russia, India, and all the space in-between.
“I am indebted to all of the people I interviewed for having lightened the weight of this quest for me. They have given a new meaning to my life in Canada, a home away from home."
Homeland runs from October 28 to November 6, 2010 and is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. Details below:
at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson Ave.
October 28, 2010 – November 6, 2010
October 27, 2010 Preview
Tuesday – Saturday 8 PM; Saturday Matinees 2 PM
Tickets: $10 – $20
Tickets are available through Arts Box Office at 416-504-7529, online at www.artsboxoffice.ca or at the door.
Written and Directed by: Setareh Delzendeh
Performed by: Megan Nadain
Sound Design & Composition: Reza Moghaddas
Percussions: Lorenzo Castelli
Choreography: Setareh Delzendeh & Megan Nadain
Set & Costume Design: Setareh Delzendeh
Stage Manger & Artistic Assistant: Lida Nosrati
Film Edit: Reza Moghaddas
Graphic Design: Homeira Rezaei
Set & Costume Assistant: Siamak Delzendeh
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