Imagine welcoming complete strangers into your home and sharing your most personal stories with them. Twice a week the Bostick family, of the 6100 block of Hegerman Street in Wissinoming, has done just that.
Their performance is one of four featured in This Town is a Mystery, a showcase exploring the untold stories of households in Philadelphia. Each family was given the opportunity to put on their own intimate performance for eight different nights.
When guests arrived to the Bostick household’s fourth performance they walked into the kitchen where benches act as theater seats and a dining room as the stage. Lea Bostick performed pieces with her son Adam and daughter Princess which walked the audience through stories of struggle, motivation and dedication. The performance began with a story about how hard work and a bit of luck sent Adam to California, only to realize that Philadelphia was where he belonged.
Lea’s story depicted her dedication to Buddhism and memories of her mother, grandmother and childhood. The final story performed by Princess recalls her struggles of living in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for seven months after her son Preston was born pre-mature.
This Town Is a Mystery, directed by Headlong Dance Theater, is a part of the 16th annual Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. Co-director Amy Smith credits her colleague Andrew Simonet for the idea.
“Well I think it was Andrew’s brain child, he’s one of the three co-directors of Headlong,” Smith said. “I remember he had the idea a few years ago, he said, ‘I drive around Philly and I’m looking in peoples windows and I’m just thinking about who lives in that house and what is their life like, who are they?’”
Along with the Aryadareis of South Philadelphia, Tobie Hoffman of Mount Airy and the McQueens of Mayfair, the Bosticks were intriguing to the directors.
“All three of them are really kind and generous and loving family people and their family unit is so strong and so powerful, there is just so much love exuding out of their family,” Smith said.
After the performance, the space transformed into a large dining area where audience members and the Bostick family shared a potluck dinner.
“I liked how intimate the environment was,” said Justin Gebhard, an audience member from center city. “It takes down a lot of the laws typically associated with performances.”
This Town is a Mystery will be running until Saturday, Sept. 22 and information about purchasing tickets to all four performances can be found at thistownisamystery.com.