Nobody's Home

A multi-sensory meditation-comedy on the nature of nothing
performed for extraordinary audiences in ordinary bedrooms

Co-created by Mason Rosenthal and Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews
Performed by Mason Rosenthal
Direction and design by Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews
Music by Jonathan Pfeffer
Costumes by Rebecca Kanach
Movement consultants Magdalene San Millan and Chelsea Murphy
Logo design by Kylin Metler

Mason Rosenthal with "Somebody Special" during the second Philly run of   Nobody's Home   in January of 2014. Photo © JJ Tiziou

Mason Rosenthal with "Somebody Special" during the second Philly run of Nobody's Home in January of 2014. Photo © JJ Tiziou

Nobody's Home is an original piece of theatrical performance created by Mason Rosenthal and Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews of the Medium Theatre Company. This interactive one-man variety show stars a personality named Nobody played by Rosenthal, who serves the audience guided meditations, hand-shadow fables, foot rubs, sweet tea and snacks until his harmonious world gets poked at by lingering bitterness from a past relationship. Andrews and Rosenthal created the piece collaboratively through theatrical improvisations to premiere in Philadelphia’s 2013 SoLow Fest, a DIY festival of new experimental solo work. What started as an idea to lead a small audience through a guided meditation gone wrong in Rosenthal’s bedroom, quickly turned into an elaborate interdisciplinary work that’s since played to packed crowds at colleges, house parties, and on board a recreational vehicle at the New Orleans Fringe Festival.

A Voice Inside Your Head

The original idea for Nobody was that of a spiritual teacher, based on German-born author Eckhart Tolle. Mason originally performed the "Eckhart voice" while wearing a mask built by sculptor Ryan Kelly in the 2012 Philly Fringe Festival piece Mining the Mine of the Mind for Minderals (MMMM for short), which Mason co-created and performed with Megan Mazarick. A month later the mask and voice returned in a more sinister fashion as "Nobody" or "The Voice Inside Your Head" in the Mediums' first Hall of Haunts at Rutherfurd Hall and some subsquent solo engagements. The voice (sans mask) appeared yet again in the Mediums' 2013 play, Meet the Mediums. Here the Voice Inside Your Head was used as a comedic conversation partner for the play's antagonist to perform internal dialogues for the audience.

In Nobody's Home, the offstage voice of Nobody returns to a more genial, Tolle-inspired character, with some twists that evolved (and continue to evolve) through the devising process, as Nobody now dialogues with not just the audience or another character, but also with his most vulnerable self.

Mason Rosenthal and home host Bruce Schimmel durin the "7 Homes in 7 Days Tour" in January 2014.  Photo © JJ Tiziou

Mason Rosenthal and home host Bruce Schimmel durin the "7 Homes in 7 Days Tour" in January 2014.  Photo © JJ Tiziou

Devising a Plot

We created Nobody's Home out of Mason's desire to make a show for his tiny South Philly bedroom. He asked Morgan to direct and they began working with structured improvisations using a stopwatch based loosely on techniques similar to those employed by the composer John Cage: Morgan would sit outside the room for 2 minutes while Mason set up the environment. Morgan would enter and Mason had just 1 minute to come up with some unique bit of performance. When the timer went off at the end of that minute, Morgan returned to the hall for another 2 minutes, and the cycle repeated, with Mason exploring different motifs that ranged from stillness and silence, to wild cacophonous dances under the bedclothes, to Aesop-inspired hand-shadow fables told on the fly. The best of these moments were then expanded into more fleshed-out scenes, and Morgan began collecting objects—a plastic portrait of an eagle, a ceramic chicken, a pair of brass swans, a handful of rubber turtles—all of whom became the play's co-stars.

Mason also enlisted composer Jonathan Pfeffer to create and perform a live musical score for the original run. Jon's role was originally conceived as a Paul Schaffer to Mason's David Letterman, and another theme emerged: that of a charismatic talk show host who would do a variety of things to entertain the audience

See the full roster of Medium Theatre Company shows ➔