A Place To Land
There's no place like you-know-where
Home. Few other words in the English language can speak to each of us so clearly, stir each of us so uniquely and individually.
Over the last year, few artists in Austin have been more concerned with home and what it means than Leticia Rodriguez. Last year the dancer, along with actor Tim Mateer, presented Home Entertainment/Espectáculo Casero, a gathering that included movement, music, and storytelling in the yards of three local homes. But well before that, Rodriguez wanted to produce an event that would encompass the idea of home inside an actual residence. "It's been two years at least since I had this idea," she says. "It was just a matter of finding the right house." The house she found was built in the Thirties in the Clarksville neighborhood, west of downtown and north of Enfield. Coincidentally, Rodriguez lived in the house 20 years ago.
So why the intense interest in home? "In part it's to do with the growth of Austin, in part with my own personal relationships and family dynamics. It also came from a series of conversations I had with my daughter's friends, all of whom are growing up and moving from their homes. I started thinking about how homes are so important to us in terms of who we are, how we relate, and how we identify with the world. It's a topic that's coming from a really deep place for me."
As with Home Entertainment, A Place to Land is less a show than a concert, a gathering. Presented in two parts, the first focuses on five women who live in the past, present, and future of the house, utilizing music, dance, video, and spoken word, both live and recorded, by Rodriguez, vocalist Suzi Stern, and choreographer Sharon Marroquin. One of the women makes cookies, which are then served with lemonade during the second part, focusing on visual art by Debbie Krieger and photography by Richard Schildgen on display throughout the house.
"In a sense, it's a tour, a tour about the history of the house," says Rodriguez. "Some of it is scripted, but it's not meant to be a play, it's meant to be an experience. In each room, there's something that unfolds, a quality of what makes a house a home. Also, because homelessness and the idea that people can't afford a home or rent are such big topics right now, I thought it would be great to invite people in the community who deal with these issues to participate. So it isn't just about my perspective; it also represents the perspective of people who live in a homeless situation, which allows us to talk about homes in an even larger sense.
"This also is the premiere of a new company, Performance Encounters, committed to works that integrate creative initiative, spiritual growth, and social action. Our plan is to return to these three elements over and over again. I'm very excited about that."
A Place to Land runs through June 17, Thu.-Sat., 8pm, at 1610 W. Ninth. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.danceumbrella.com.