|Neighborhoodlum puts a human face on the homeless.
Little consideration is ever given to who they are or how they
came to suffer their plight. Neighborhoodlum hopes to soften
people’s hearts and open their minds to the real lives of
homeless teens by creating a truly unexpected and unforgettable
experience that may encourage people to make a difference in
helping to solve the homeless problem in their own communities.
Neighborhoodlum is designed to be performed by a small cast in
medium-sized coffee shops or other similar environments.
homeless panhandler (teenaged actor) enters the venue. Once the
majority of the room has become aware of the presence of this
individual and set their (likely negative) first impressions of
this person, the teen/actor then approaches an adult customer (another, older actor) busily working
at a table. Just as the adult is ready to give the
same brush-off that the real patrons have likely done, the two
recognize each other from an earlier time, when the
teen/actor was not on the streets and the adult/actor was an important figure in the life of the
former. The dialog begins: What happened to you?
is part of the 2005
County Performance Network
Neighborhoodlum premiered in Redmond,
on October 7, 2005,
with another performance following up at
Victor's Celtic Coffee House
on October 8
Ms DeWitt: Susan Alotrico
Crystal: Melissa Walker
These were both publicized performances, so
most of the audience was prepared for the interaction between
the actors, although they didn't know when it would begin.
One group of audience members whispered among themselves that
the only remaining vacant table must be where the action was
going to take place, so they placed themselves accordingly for a
view, only to find out that the woman who had already been
sitting at another table -- behind them -- for 10 minutes before
they arrived was part of the play.
handful of unprepared customers came in part-way through each
performance, though by then ushers had passed out programs, so
it was a little more evident that something out-of-the-ordinary
was taking place.
Another small group was at the back of one of
the venues, talking loudly amongst themselves, though this
proved to be not much of an obstacle, as the sound of the
espresso machine was, more often than not, the loudest noise to
performances were well-received, meeting with loud applause from
the patrons. Susan and Melissa turned out awesome
performances, and although Melissa's hair didn't appear nearly
quite so bright blue sans flash in the dim lighting of
the cafe, her garb and physical attitude definitely struck the
unaware segment of the audience in the expected way.
It remains to be seen how the upcoming
"guerilla" performances will be received, as we will effectively
be interlopers into the patrons' visit to a coffee shop, rather
than the focus of that visit. Although the staff of the
shops will be aware of what's transpiring, only after the ushers
have handed out programs, roughly five minutes into the play,
will the customers realize they are watching live theater.