Wayward HomeBrooklyn, NY
Inspired by Noah’s Ark and migration stories, Wayward Home is a musical folktale about a family forced to begin again. Through original music and fantastical storytelling, a trio of performers untangle a universal tale of love, loss, and rebirth, and delve into the question “How do we keep going when the world turns upside down?” With no fourth wall and a minimal set, a tale is told of exodus triggered by tragedy. Devastated, humans and animals float in a sealed-up house as the Earth floods. They struggle with their separate responses to grief, and seek a new home.
The cast is small: three actors play all the roles, accompany themselves musically on keys, strings, percussion, found objects (bells, typewriters, and more!) live on-stage. The audience can see how they are making the sounds, such as splashing a mason jar in a tub of water, or using an old egg beater for construction sounds, which adds to the theatricality of the production. In contrast to the bare set, the world of the play is filled by the movement and rich soundscape of the performers. In a time where visual communication is predominant, Wayward Home invites audiences to a primarily aural experience. In Shakespeare’s time, one would go and ”hear a play.” Both of the creators have training in classical theatre, and language is a pillar in Wayward Home; rooted in bardic traditions, but with the urgency of modern times, it is relatable and intimate yet with the scope of myths. In a culture where the simple skill of listening seems to be fading, Wayward Home seeks to awaken its audience to presence and communion, with an archetypal story that rings hauntingly close to today’s reality. The performer-audience relationship is paramount, and through a stripped-down production the story can expand to its full potential, and audience’s imaginations are invited to co-create the journey.
Wayward Home began as a long-distance collaboration between playwright Maizy Scarpa and composer Clara Strauch, who met during their studies at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The seed for Wayward Home was fueled by a mutual fascination with immigration stories, humans’ relationship with nature, and feminist angles on myths. Both Strauch and Scarpa come from a smörgåsbord of immigrant ancestry. Strauch is half Swedish, grew up in Sweden and now leads a bi-cultural life, which has contributed to the story’s themes of distance and connection. Wayward Home is influenced by both American and Scandinavian folk music and musical theatre.
An early version of the piece was featured at Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts’ 2015 Winter Carnival in Cambridge, New York. It was an audience favorite, and producer David Snider offered a main-stage production. This ran concurrently with a regional tour, followed by a showcase at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City. The Stonington Opera House Arts in Maine awarded Wayward Home a Harbor Residency in 2017, where the script was further refined and the music expanded, and later performed for audience feedback. This coming spring, Wayward Home will go on tour as a concert-reading at various venues in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York.
A medley of songs from the 2015 Hubbard Hall production of WAYWARD HOME.
Music by Clara Strauch
Lyrics by Clara Strauch and Maizy Scarpa
Vocals, guitar: Abigail Wahl
Vocals, banjo: Maizy Scarpa
Vocals, piano: Clara Strauch
Music and lyrics by Clara Strauch.
Anna and Noah are newlyweds building a life together. Anna is pregnant and they are happily anticipating the arrival of their a child. Noah, however, is overwhelmed with worry. There is something wrong with the dam above the city. When city officials ignore his warnings of danger, Noah become obsessed with making his home water-tight. One night, this worry wakes him up, and he frantically tries to get Anna to escape with him. Anna, who cannot hear any rumbling, soothes him with this song.
Music and lyrics by Clara Strauch.
After losing their young daughter in a flood, Anna and Noah are left devastated, floating in their sealed-up house as the Earth floods. When this makeshift ark sinks, they wash up on shore with the animals who sought refuge with them. The waters have receded, the animals disperse into the landscape, and they are left alone a new world and a seemingly endless road ahead of them.