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Open Book Theatre Presents the World Premiere of HOME LESS

Home Less opens January 7th, and runs Thursday and Monday evenings through January 25th.

Open Book Theatre Presents the World Premiere of HOME LESS

There's a popular quote by Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" Even as adults, seeing the people who are stepping in to help can give us hope and comfort, and motivate us to help, too.

This COVID-19 crisis has given us a lot of scary news, and a lot of ways to look for the helpers. Home Less, Open Book Theatre's newest virtual play online Thursdays and Mondays Jan 7 - Jan 25, focuses on one such helper and invites us to think more deeply not only about the people who need help, but also on the needs, joys, and sacrifices of the helpers.

Playwright Emily Rosenbaum was inspired by the people she is working with in her own rural Vermont community. "We all have our individual experiences with this pandemic, and that can cloud how we imagine other people are handling it," she said. "There's a lot of press about medical professionals or grocery store workers, and sometimes we hear about those experiencing homelessness. We rarely hear about the helpers who are trying to ease the side effects of this pandemic: food insecurity, homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse, unemployment, substance misuse, depression. The pandemic has underscored just how unequal our society is and just how deep-seated these problems are. I hope the audience sees this army of helpers who have been beating back the human cost of shutdowns since March 2020."

The play is framed as a recorded video message from a mother to her child on an 11th birthday,

meant to be watched much later when the child is grown. Harry Potter fans will appreciate the nod to being sorted into the Gryffindor house on this special birthday, but you don't have to know much about the wizarding world to understand that the mother sees her child following in her helper footsteps as she lists "your clear sense of right and wrong, your refusal to accept anything less than protection for everyone. Your belief that you have to protect everyone. Your loud noises and huge plans and the constant stream of friends who need your help and your broken heart when the world isn't perfect." She's moved to speak about the challenges of helping in such a time as this.

Carrie Jay Sayer, who plays the mother, says "I believe anyone who is a parent, or works in a helping profession, or genuinely cares for and about others, will relate to the internal battle of how to meet everyone's needs, including your own. Emily Rosenbaum's beautiful play serves as a reminder to be gentle with ourselves. That it is not only acceptable, but crucial, to recharge your battery. Be kind and compassionate with yourself, as you are with others. Tell your family and friends you love them."

Zoom has become a reality for most of us over the last 10 months, and using it as a venue for live performance while still keeping energy and vibrancy brings its own challenges. Director Angie Kane explains that "in order to keep the performance alive and connected, Carrie has the freedom to allow things to happen. She has perimeters to guide her, but space within that to let things affect her organically. 'Let it happen.' Emily's piece touches on something we're all dealing with in some way- and Carrie is having no trouble at all connecting with it."

Home Less is the fourth offering in Open Book's 6 show season of One to One Virtual Theatre. Sayer said "I had the privilege of attending Open Book's first One to One play in September, as an audience member. I felt very comfortable, and connected, and delighted as the sole member of the audience. There's nothing quite like watching a play that is being performed just for you. I felt quite like a queen."

Home Less opens January 7th, and runs Thursday and Monday evenings through January 25th. Tickets are $20. Audience members purchase a ticket for a 10 minute time slot and receive a Zoom link to log in. They are greeted by a virtual house manager who makes sure everything is working properly, and then the show begins.

More information about Home Less, as well as Open Book's other offerings, can be found on their website,


Open Book Theatre Company

1621 West Road, Trenton, MI 48183

734 288-7753

More detailed information and links to book a performance on the website

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