A rare opportunity presents itself, as the Workhouse Theatre for Young Audiences is producing an American premiere of an original work written specifically for younger children. For the next several weeks, "Home" written by British playwright Lizzie Allen is being staged.
"Home" is the story of two footloose travelers; Florrie and Todd, who are friends and searchers. They are looking for a place to call home as they journey over a year through the seasons. According to director Caren Hearne, "Home" is full of imagination and magic, live action and puppetry with original music.
The characters use their imaginations to build a fanciful world of their own design as they learn "Here is where you are. There is where you are not." As the script says, a home should have "a proper roof and a proper floor."
Playwright Allen is known in England for her work in the arts for early childhood education. She also has a great interest in puppetry. "Home" is aimed at children under 7 years of age.
To construct all that the characters build on their journey together, Florrie and Matt use the most every day objects that children see in their own home like cardboard boxes. They arrange and rearrange the boxes just as young children do, with their creativity as their guide.
"Imagination is key" to the production said Hearne. "Its characters are so endearing and there is great chemistry between the two actors. The production has no restrictions on the imagination that children in the audience can use. It even has the opportunity for the actors to improvise with the audience"
The two cast members are Florrie (Marieke Georgiadis) and Todd (Jason Krage). Both mentioned the "wonderful improvisational nature" of the show. Each performance is expected to be different based upon audience participation.
"We turn cardboard boxes into almost anything from telescopes to dinosaurs, houses to hats," said Georgiadis. "We want to help to foster the imagination of the audience."
Where and When
"Home" at Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton. Performances through May 5. Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets: $8 children under 12 years old, $12 adults. Call 703-584-2962 or visit www.workhousearts.org.
NOTE: Suitable for ages 3 and up.
Todd, a Herndon native, said the play "allows for creativity by the audience, since there are actor and audience interactions in some scenes." The children in the audience even get to name some characters in the play. We just want to take what the audience feeds us use in the show."
Local musician Alex Aucoin composed the original music. His work underscores the action, including a scene as a puppet plays a piano.