‘Someone Else’s House’ uncovers one family’s haunted tale

  • ‘Someone Else's House’, a live, virtual, and interactive theatrical experience written and performed by Andy's Producing Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi, will make its world premiere on April 30 in conjunction with Geffen Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Geffen Playhouse—

  • ‘Someone Else's House’, a live, virtual, and interactive theatrical experience written and performed by Andy's Producing Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi, will make its world premiere on April 30 in conjunction with Geffen Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Geffen Playhouse—

  • ‘Someone Else's House’, a live, virtual, and interactive theatrical experience written and performed by Andy's Producing Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi, will make its world premiere on April 30 in conjunction with Geffen Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Geffen Playhouse—

  • “Someone Else’s House,” a live, virtual and interactive theatrical experience written and performed by Andy’s Producing Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi, will make its world premiere on April 30 in conjunction with Geffen Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Geffen Playhouse

  • ‘Someone Else's House’, a live, virtual, and interactive theatrical experience written and performed by Andy's Producing Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi, will make its world premiere on April 30 in conjunction with Geffen Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Geffen Playhouse—

  • 'Someone Else's House', a live, virtual, and interactive theatrical experience written and performed by Andy's Producing Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi, will make its world premiere on April 30 in conjunction with Geffen Playhouse. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/30/2021 11:18:06 AM

Growing up, Jared Mezzocchi heard the tall tales. The stories from before he was born, when his family lived in a house that was, well, haunted. Take it for what you will, but the accounts are real, Mezzocchi, Andy’s Summer Playhouse’s producing artistic director, said. They’ve been told so many times with such great detail there’s no way they could be anything but. And it all happened in small-town New Hampshire.

The house was big but the asking price did not match. Seemed too good to be true, one might say – and it didn’t take long for the Mezzocchi’s to figure out that was, unfortunately, the case.

A series of terrifying events unfolded and the family only lasted two years in the house before it “eventually lead them to move,” Mezzocchi said – away from whatever it was that had taken up residence in the 200-year-old house.

The stories always left Mezzocchi wanting to know more. And what the Obie Award-winner unearthed in his quest to learn the true story of not only his family’s two-year journey, but those who lived there before, is so personal, that it was one only he could tell. And what resulted from the exploration into the past is Mezzocchi’s latest screenplay, “Someone Else’s House,” which makes its world premiere on April 30 through Geffen Playhouse’s Stayhouse.

“I’ve thought a lot about my family through this,” Mezzocchi said. “It is deeply personal and at times it feels like a journal entry.”

Mezzocchi not only wrote “Someone Else’s House,” but he is also the sole performer for the virtual tale, directed by Margot Bordelon and produced by ViDCo (Virtual Design Collective), a collective of over 20 designers, programmers and technicians innovating new ways to tell stories and create communities online that Mezzocchi created last fall.

The show begins a nine-week run on Friday with as many as seven performances a week. Originally, “Someone Else’s House” was slated to run through June 5, but due to early ticket sales another four weeks of performance were added this week, stretching shows out to July 5.

The story is enough to get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up.

“The house itself had a lot of energy,” Mezzocchi remembers of his family member’s stories. The hauntings were both physical and nonphysical, and what Mezzocchi began to realize is that it wasn’t just his family who experienced it.

As the pandemic stretched from weeks to months – and now more than a year – Mezzocchi was in constant search of a creative outlet. He had started to think more about his family’s history in this particular time of their lives. He wanted to know more and it led to what will be yet another multi-media endeavor from someone who looked at the shift to online content as an opportunity when the live performance world came to a screeching halt last March.

He brought the idea to the creative team at Geffen Playhouse in December and “when I told them, they were like what?” Mezzocchi said. It was an immediate yes, but the turnaround time would be quick.

“Usually projects like this are over a year in the making,” he said. Mezzocchi did it in about four months.

With the green light to write a script, Mezzocchi wanted to do as much research as he could, to fact check what happened to his family and others who also called the two-century-old house their home. He stumbled upon the old owners, a Boston Globe article and a New York Times obituary.

“I wanted to know what is actually behind this. Outside of this piece of theater I wanted to get to the bottom of it,” he said. “So a good chunk of this is uncovering that history.” He came across documents, wills, other articles and a book on the family, and “the history aligns with what happened.”

It dates back to the Revolutionary War and the first inhabitants of the small town that will be revealed in “Someone Else’s House.”

When Mezzocchi first sat down to write, he outlined what he knew and then went in search of whatever he could uncover. As he learned details about the past it led to an intense month and a half of writing, something that has been an evolving process even as opening night is less than 48 hours away.

“The kids at Andy’s know I make changes right up until opening,” he said.

The story will unfold across audiences’ screens with Mezzocchi in a remote location that only viewers will know how it ties to the story. It will be an interactive experience as households will receive a box of items to help set the scene for the performance, as well as include important artifacts that will be used to interact with during the show.

“And we’ll see what happens,” Mezzocchi said.

He said this is really the first time that ViDCo had embarked on its own production, having really just been in the business of helping live performance organizations navigate the challenges of digital performances.

Mezzocchi grew up wanting to be an actor, but hasn’t been in a show for 14 years. It took a back seat to his other work and as he put it “I actually didn’t pitch myself to act in this.”

“And I’ve never written something that I’ve acted in,” he said.

Since Geffen Playhouse is located in Los Angeles, all the performances are Pacific Time, so every single one starts anywhere from 9 p.m. to midnight in New Hampshire, where Mezzocchi will be based.

“For a ghost story, it’s perfect,” he said. “And there’s some good New Hampshire moments.”

But it has forced Mezzocchi to adjust his life, forcing a shift in his sleep schedule in order to rehearse and eventually perform at all hours of the night.

“It’s been a lot of recognizing my body is a part of the art form now,” he said.

To purchase tickets, visit geffenplayhouse.org/shows/someone-elses-house.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2020 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy