NMU students present “Finding Home”

Original multimedia play inspired by interviews with Marquette community members


Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bednarczyk

SHARING STORIES — Actors in “Finding Home” huddle up in one particular scene from the play. Finding Home had its world premiere Friday, Nov. 4, and will be showing until Saturday, Nov. 12.

Harry Stine

The Black Box theatre at NMU held the world premiere of “Finding Home” last Friday, November 4. “Finding Home” is a production developed by NMU students and explores what it means to live in Marquette, specifically as someone from a marginalized community.

The play blurs the line between fiction and biography. Guest Director Michael Blatt interviewed people in different communities in the area over the summer, which either became part of the script or was featured in the multimedia presentation serving as the background for the play.

Hope spent around 50 hours compiling all of the multimedia elements for the play, according to Media Designer Erin Hope. These elements include videos and photos which are shown on two TVs on the sides of the stage or displayed on the wall with a projector.

After all of the interviews and research was completed, writing the script proved to be a complicated process in itself.

According to actor Amarae Robinson, they rehearsed for the play in only three weeks, going through over 20 versions of the script and over 60 hours of rehearsals. The first read of the script was with an 80 page document of interviews and multimedia concepts, taking three hours to get through.

Robinson said that the first week was spent figuring out who says what, what movements to do alongside the dialogue, and actors coming up with their own dances to go along with the music, as well as many revisions and tweaks. 

“It’s not just Michael [Blatt] writing the show,” Hope said. “A lot of our cast members even chipped in to write help write the story with their experiences in life and what they have been through.”

Student actor DeShawn Mitchell also noted difficulties in bringing the script to life, especially in trying to find a balance between performing what was on the page and paying proper respect to the people involved in the interview process.

“It’s one thing to take something that has never existed or only exists in a fantastical manner and make it your own,” Mitchell said. “It’s another thing to look at the actual real words of the human being spoken, and the stories that they tell, and then try to still, within a respectful way, act through it.”

Centering community was important for the “Finding Home” team. Many student organizations centered around diversity on campus were offered 10 free tickets to attend the show, including the Native American Student Association, Queers and Allies and Black Student Union.

There are two more productions of “Finding Home” at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 12 in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre.