Devising Home Is Where…

Joanna Greaney delivers a verbatim monologue via headphones while the cast improvises physical responses to the story.

What do you get when you combine verbatim interviews, improvisation, movement, original music, and a group of 9 new collaborators with rich cross-culture experiences?

I don’t quite know yet – we’re still making it. It’s going to be on stage in the “Whose London Is It Anyway?” festival at Camden People’s Theatre in January. (Early bird tickets are only £7 if you book before 31st December.)

Home is Where… is a theatre piece made of real stories collected from interviews with Third Culture Kids, people who grew up in a different culture than their parents and created their own unique identities out of many influences.

It’s verbatim, but not as you know it; the stories of Londoners, but not as you know them. Using scripted dialogue alongside verbatim interviews, movement, music, and multi-media, Home is Where… explores the complexity, absurdity, and joy of our multicultural lives.

We are more the same than we are different. We are Londoners.

I’m so delighted to be working with writer Guleraana Mir, movement director Paula Paz, and composer Yaiza Varona, along with performers Sharlit Deyzac, Joanna Greaney, Anna-Maria Nabirye, Mark Ota, and Kal Sabir.

It’s been such a long time coming (Sharlit, Guleraana, and I met nearly two years ago and started planning this project), and now we’re finally getting into a rehearsal studio to create a real-life, 3D version of the vision that’s been evolving in our minds since early 2014.

The interviews we’ve done so far are fascinating, personal, profound, moving, funny, surprising… I could go on. Add to that incredible raw material, the off-the-wall creativity of performers with impeccable impulses, and a creative team eager to experiment with new and unusual ways of presenting verbatim material, and we’re well on our way to the next stage of this ambitious project.

The cast responds to the idea of searching for “home” across cultures and continents.

We have made huge leaps forward in just three short devising sessions, crammed into our busy December schedules, around other projects, day jobs, and holiday commitments. It’s difficult to quantify the work of ensemble building, exploring new techniques, creating characters, and imagining a structure for the piece – but already I’ve learned so much about what this piece could turn into.

For every answer we’ve found, there’s a new question to ask: how can we combine headphone verbatim techniques with viewpoints-inspired movement? How does music affect the way we move? How do our personal experiences enrich our interpretation of the stories of Third Culture Kids we’ve interviewed? How can we frame these stories in an overarching narrative? What might these stories mean to London’s diverse audiences? How do we make the piece accessible and interesting to people who haven’t had a cross-culture childhood?

Tomorrow, writer Guleraana Mir and I begin shaping a script, weaving together the various interview texts, improvisations, movement ideas, and musical impulses we’ve discovered with the ensemble. I can’t wait!

Stay tuned for more news from the rehearsal room in January! For now, you can get a sneak preview of some of the interviews on our online Oral History Library. Plus, much more information about the project is available here.