Spend enough time in Philly, enough so-sticky summers and frozen Januarys, and — if you’re doing it right — you’ll come to the same humbling conclusion as Andrew Simonet: You know very little about this place. You know very little about the mysterious people who disappear every evening into this city’s compact row homes and converted lofts, into its tired old brownstones and sleek new condos.
But while most of us will shuffle home tonight without giving much thought to these strangers and even stranger, Simonet wants a peek inside. His latest project with Headlong Dance Theater, “This Town is a Mystery,” is looking to invade Philly households, turning residents into performers and audiences into acquaintances.
“We look at things in a different way when we perform — we learn about ourselves. In this case we learn about your home: the space of your home, the universe of your home,” says Simonet, a co-director and founder of the Philly-based company. “I feel like every home is its own universe with its own system, its own gravity.”
The criteria to apply is simple: Everyone must be willing to rehearse, then host a post-performance dinner after the show, which will take place in September. Space restrictions, children, uncooperative cats and that guy on the couch are not only welcome, but encouraged. Headlong’s team — including sound and video designer Rucyl Mills, a member of the late Philly hip-hop outfit The Goats — will take care of creating performers out of roommates, as well as the logistics of staging a professional show in a living space.
“We’re looking for households — and by that, we mean people who live together and eat meals together. You have to share a fridge,” says Simonet. “Basically, when you hear about this, does this excite you? Then, you are the right person. “
If you aren’t chosen for one of the official performances, Headlong still wants you to open your doors. They’ll provide a “Do-It-Yourself-With-Headlong” kit to help your household stage a show.