Written and directed by ashley sparks and Mark Valdez, the show, or rather experience, takes place at the new home of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul. It all happens in one large room, with a stage in the middle, and a bit of moving around the space. Our hosts are zebras (why? I'm not sure, because zebras are almost extinct like affordable housing?), who tell stories, sing songs, and invite us to dance and talk (audience members are given nametags so they can be called by name, appropriately terrifying for a Halloween show). We're asked to imagine a better future of housing, but first, we have to remember the past. Both the recent past (the recession of 2008), and more distant (the audience was split into two groups, one "time traveled" to the 1830s, one to the 1940s, and unfortunately we never swapped so we could see the other time period). There's also time for group discussion (my least favorite thing) around what we want the future of housing to look like.
|Karla Mosley (photo courtesy of MBT)|
The way to my heart is not participation, but statistics. I was startled, but maybe not surprised, to learn that 15% of Minnesota renters are behind on payments, and while Black and indigenous people make up 15% of Minnesota's population, they make up 65% of our homeless. Having lived a very privileged and solidly middle class life, I've never once worried about not being able to pay my rent or mortgage and becoming homeless. I honestly rarely think about housing, so while it wasn't in the most comfortable way for me, this show did get me to think about these issues, and what a big problem it really is, as well as some possible solutions (see also the Netflix series Maid, and John Oliver's piece on homelessness which aired the same day I saw this show).
The Most Beautiful Home... Maybe continues through November 7, with tickets free or pay as you will. Check it out if you're up for group discussions, dancing in public, and being called on to answer questions on the important topic of housing.