Houseless in Paradise by Dr. Mark Tjarks; Directed by Dennis Gleason
Houseless in Paradise exposes the homelessness problem in tropical Hawaii. The Aloha State has the highest rate of homelessness per capita in the United States. The playwright, Dr. Mark Tjarks compiled more than 60 stories from the “houseless” community as well as city and state officials to create a play about hope.
The program included a bonus feature called The Unsalable Thing also written by Dr. Tjarks about a bidding war for a storage locker with a twist.
After a short pause there’s a transition into Houseless in Paradise. However, the location of the piece was unclear at the beginning. The ensemble wonderfully shared the many stories that reflect painful childhoods, addiction, abuse, prostitution, economic downfall, and illness as a basis of the loss of homes. However, it was unclear to whom they were talking.
Though emotional and thought provoking, it was missing an element that would connect this audience to Hawaii. The piece began with the use of projection and wasn’t used again until the end. Since the play is performed in New York City, where homelessness is also a widespread issue, the lack of photos from Hawaii didn’t transport the audience to the locations mentioned in the script. It also didn’t give us the element needed to forget what’s right outside the theater. Therefore, if one hasn’t been to Hawaii (like me), it was hard to connect to being homeless in paradise. Regardless, I was able to hear the stories and be empathetic.
WED 8/17 @ 4:30
FRI 8/19 @ 4:45
SAT 8/20 @ NOON
VENUE #1: Teatro SEA at The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street (between Rivington & Delancey)
for more info.