So many adages come to mind when thinking of home: ‘you can’t go home again,’ ‘be it ever so humble, there’s no place like it,’ ‘home is where the heart is,’ ‘home sweet home.’ At the end of the day, ‘wherever you go, there you are.’ Next@ The Braid & Jewish Women’s Theatre presents a unique and thought provoking look at the power of home in a compilation of personal, compelling stories in “The Way Home.” Co-directed by Aysha Wax and Julie Lanctot, and produced by Andrew Fromer, each story shares a concept of home and family that is brought to life onstage, each instance resonating with audience members on a range of situations. In “Heavier Than Expected,” written by Jennifer Liff, who was present at the performance I attended, she stated “home means family and the actress Jasmine Curry honored my sacred story.” The piece deals with the very sensitive matter of Liff’s mother dying at home, but not before one final kiss goodbye, with a clear beautiful message of love. On Jennifer’s writing, actress Jasmine Curry stated, “it’s impossible to look at those words on the page and not be affected by them.” Aneesha Madhok is quite a triple threat, multi talented as a writer, actress, and dancer. Her story, “Fusion,” in which she portrays herself, and creates her own style and “beautiful blend” of both Indian and Persian cultures. Her culminating dance combines a fusion of both traditions with some standout Bollywood moves! She is mesmerizing and ‘at home,’ as she expresses her self identity through movement, a universal language. Sionne Elise beautifully portrayed Marissa Tiamfook Gee, in “Making a Home,” where she rented the upper duplex of an elderly lonely woman, and the two soon became kindred spirits. Marissa shared with the audience, post-show, “I cry every time I think about Ala. Although Ala, a Holocaust survivor, was quite private, this story is an important one to tell, and helped her grand niece with her healing and grief.” In “Cyclone,” written by Nina Raynor, and performed by Aneesha Madhok and Sam Mandel, the music and lyrics of “Golden Slumber” (Paul McCartney); and “Homeward Bound,” (Simon and Garfunkel) is played as the story of an Iranian family leaves Tehran for Coney Island, to establish a new beginning, a new name, a new home.
True to each and every JWT production, “The Way Home” involved an amazing process of pairing each writer’s personal journey with the most fitting of actors. In turn, each actor respects the writer’s work and authentically sticks to every word they write, conveying their stories with the uncanny ability to access different emotions, and “own the experience.”
Through June 18th