Fringe review: 'EvictionProof PeepShow Home'

By Howard Shapiro
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Vashti Dubois is the artist who produces the smart and crafty EvictionProof PeepShow Home, and she's also the real mother of the house on Newhall Street in Germantown where it takes place. Her husband, Al Stewart. is the dad, all dressed up in a fine tux. With the skill of a ringmaster, he takes you on a tour through their house, which is in foreclosure.

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Vashti Dubois at the "EvictionProof PeepShow Home," part of the Fringe festival.

Or maybe it's in foreclosure mediation. It's odd to walk through the house, where various performers are offering their takes of things, and not be able to separate just which parts of this project are site-specific theater and which are real, but that makes the topics -- foreclosure and eviction -- even more urgent. Plus, they're considered in a way that comes at you from an angle you would not expect: This is a house that is trying desperately to keep its family.

From the house's point of view, this is not just about personal loss and broken dreams, but devolving neighborhood blocks and ripped-up communities. Yet EvictionProof PeepShow Home (we are the peepers, looking around all the rooms) is in many cases, amusing; despite its predicament, this house has a hang-man humor about itself and its family. In one room, pictures of the family have a member's face cut out and replaced with a mirror -- you can look at the photos and become whatever family member you want.

My favorite is the Virtual Fancy Room, where everything is upscale but its all really paper, from the fancy chandelier to the fireplace set. In this room, the parents, joined by their adult kids -- Ariadne, Eric and Dubois -- sing a chorus of complaints about the eviction process.

There are plenty of little surprises, along with striking African and African American art and sculpture -- many artists contributed thoughtfully to this project. Don't leave before you see the video in which the house explains itself, on the way out.

Contact Howard Shapiro at 215-854-5727, hshapiro@phillynews.com, or #philastage on Twitter. Read his recent work at www.philly.com/howardshapiro. Hear his reviews at the Classical Network, www.wwfm.org.

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EvictionProof PeepShow Home: $15. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. 4613 Newhall St. in Germantown. Leave an hour for the tour and video. 

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