East Williamsburg during the Twentieth Century received immigrants from all around the world. By 1917, Williamsburg was the most densely populated area in New York City. By the 1990s, the manufacturing jobs diminished, and the numbers of unemployment increased, which caused the increase of poverty, racism, inadequate health care and education. The area became undesired for newcomers until the late 20th – early 21sth Century when the neighborhood was gentrified. At this moment, more affluent individuals came to the area, and the longstanding residents that could not afford the rents anymore were displaced. East Williamsburg has been called home by individuals from different races, social statuses, and ethnicities in different times of history, which brought my inquiry for the piece. I decided to explore the notion of home with the diverse demographics of the neighborhood.
“Who’s Home?” is a participatory experience in which every audience member is given a role, and they perform it creating their play. Each audience member is provided instructions on their character such as their new names, and the actions they will perform. The character’s actions interact with the screening that they have as a background. I decided to create an interactive piece for the audience members to feel in the feet of those that passed through the land of East Williamsburg. I included the video in the background to reference my research on the history of the demographic changes in the area. I also decided to use sound (the music used for each section, and the voice-over) to create an ambiance, a mood surrounding each character, and to let every part of the experience to create a different feeling for those participating and those observing the play. My contribution to the piece was to give the tools to the audience to develop their storyline surrounding the population of the area. Without them, there would be no piece.
Tours, Brooklyn. “History of Williamsburg Brooklyn.” Like A Local Tours. Accessed July 29, 2018. https://www.likealocaltours.com/williamsburg-brooklyn-history/.
Ulrich, Katherine. “City Living: East Williamsburg Has a Multi-layered History.” Am New York. May 14, 2015. Accessed July 26, 2018. https://www.amny.com/real-estate/city-living/brooklyn/city-living-east-williamsburg-has-a-multi-layered-history-1.6820973
Strickland, Julie. “The Neighborhood Name Police: East Williamsburg.” Brooklyn Based. August 14, 2015. Accessed July 26, 2018. https://brooklynbased.com/2012/07/24/the-neighborhood-name-police-east-williamsburg/
Williamsburg. “Brooklyn Public Library: Brooklyn in the Civil War – Soldiers.” Accessed July 26, 2018. http://www.bklynlibrary.org/ourbrooklyn/williamsburg/.