Review- Home- Hong Kong Arts Festival


By Dakota Duclo



Every so often we as theatregoers come across a production that seems almost too deep to comprehend, yet so simple ‘a caveman could do it’. This would be the case for GeoffSobelle’s immaculate production of Home, just staged at the Lyric Theatre space at the Hong Kong APA.


This a production that makes one put their hand on their chin and stare in amazement while trying to intellectualize what’s being seen, all whilst laughing and nodding your head saying “oh ok, yeah, I get it”. The staging of this show is the part that is unfortunately not so simple. Although also, not so unfortunate. If one thing is for absolute certain it’s that the staging itself is something to be appreciated, revered, and pondered one hundred times over.


The many things that happened on stage (most of which will not be covered in this review) has one scratching their head in thought, and clapping like school children at the same time. This begins with these. The stage is first empty with only two ghost lights. For the first five or so minutes it seems, a middle-aged man is trying to set things up with only a wooden frame, staple gun, and somewhat see-through white tarp. By the time he’s stapled the tarp to the frame and stood it on its feet, it takes him about five seconds to adjust ever so slightly before then magically (yes magically) revealing a bed, a lamp, and then off to the other side of the stage, a door.


This sort of stage spectacle can only be explained by an excellent stage crew, with a professional lighting design that transcends what most of us in the industry even know how to do. The team tops this off by lowering a massive white tarp from the ceiling, before revealing behind it what appears to be an empty house. Before there’s any time to collect your thoughts, a construction crew enters the space to turn this into a full-fledged home; a kitchen, laundry room, bedroom, living and dining room, study, and bathroom. All of this not even being the more interesting things that were appealing from the audience view.


The actors in the show - two men, three women, and one adolescent – had seemingly no real relationship with one another, and yet, seemed to have all the connection in the world. One minute they were family, the next second they didn’t know each other. One second they were friends, the next, it seemed they didn’t acknowledge one another’s existence.

All of this is relevant however, due to the underlying concept of the show, but we’ll get to that. There was also no real dialogue (not meant for the audience anyway..) but the characters didn’t act, they lived. With every breath they took, they had an activity, something to do, something to focus on that had nothing to do with anyone else.


There are a few moments in the show where the characters break the fourth wall, but for the most part, the show is pretty “representational”. The most fascinating role the actors played in all of this, was how they entered and exited the space. A character would walk in the closet, and less than half a second would pass, and then another character would walk out. A man would enter the shower, close it, immediately open it, and boom, it’s a woman. If there’s one thing this sort of blocking verifies, it’s that the hand is indeed quicker than the eye. This is something that occurs the entire production, all of the characters engaged in their own affairs within the house, each drawing your attention away to their activity, even if it’s for a split second. Blink, and you missed it. It was chaotic. It was insane. It was a mess, and it was beautiful.


The things that can be frustrating about this production: this show has absolutely no plot, zero character arc, and honestly, no story. And none of that matters. From the moment this show begins, it’s almost impossible not to ‘get it’. We’ve all lived in houses, but what is it that makes it home? Now, this show may leave us with more questions than answers in that regard, but it’s the most relatable thing any of us may ever see on stage. Everything the characters deal with onstage, we deal with, and if you haven’t, at some point you likely will. If one were to think back to the first house they can remember moving into, they’d remember moving in, decorating it, picking the furniture, the accessories, and you’d likely remember the house’s features.


That’s what makes it a house. But, what makes it a home is remembering the good times, the bad times, the fun times, and the intimate times; what happens in the house, what doesn’t, who else lives there, who only visits etc. All of these and more are touched on in this production. In conclusion, Home is a show that is in a class all its own. It evokes, empathizes, sympathizes, represents, recognizes, and realizes.


You will feel, relate, laugh, cry, understand, misunderstand, and above all else, gaze in sheer amazement. Never again may there be a show that can break so many rules, yet somehow get so many things right. If you haven’t seen it, then go…and if you miss it, well, condolences. 


This production has now closed. 




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