“Homelessness is a way of life that we get caught up in. People look at us, like we’re worthless, useless and degenerates, but nobody stops to think, that we are like – we’re somebody’s children, everyone of us that are on the street, we are all somebody’s child, no matter how you look at us, or think about us.” – Thomas, Home Is a Beautiful Word
A warm bed, a roof over our heads, for many of us, a home to call our own is often taken for granted, something we are entitled to. In Joel Bernbaum’s play Home Is A Beautiful Word, having a home just isn’t a reality for many.
It’s a documentary play created from over 500 interviews Bernbaum did in 2012 – 2014 with people who were homeless, just one paycheck away from the street or worked with people experiencing the problem first-hand. What he came away with was a kaleidoscopic view of an the issue including voices of people who are housed, currently homeless, teens, elderly, business people and politicians. It’s a portrait of homelessness in Canada.
The show first premiered at Victoria’s Belfry Theatre in 2014. When Bernbaum and the original cast were approached to do a revival this year at Persephone Theatre, the team knew it was right.
“It’s so important to see this piece produced in Saskatoon because it demonstrates that homelessness is not specific to one city in Canada,” Bernbaum says. “Homelessness is part of the fabric of our country and hopefully this play will help people down a path of understanding about it.”
This performance is a partnership between Persephone Theatre, Bernbaum’s Sum Theatre and the Broadway Theatre and, with the exception of Jonathan Fisher, features the same cast as the original production.
In an effort to keep the conversation about homelessness going, special pre-show panel discussions with guests from the local community and audience talk back sessions after the show will be held.
Bernbaum believes that theatre should not just be for the elite so sponsorships from SIGA and the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation are making it possible for 50 tickets each show for the homeless and at risk people who wouldn’t normally be able to see the play. Sum Theatre is also offering to make tickets accessible to people who can’t afford them.
“I hope that people walk away seeing their own thoughts about homelessness on the stage and also seeing new thoughts. It’s important to see both,” says Bernbaum. “We want people to recognize themselves in the play and consider a different perspective as well.”
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Home Is A Beautiful Word
April 12 – 21, 2018