presented by MALACARNE & ACTLab

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Where is home : birds of passage

Dates: November 1–November 17, 2019
Run time: approximately 3 hours
Location: Lalie Theatre

This is a come-and-go performance, the doors will be open and concessions will be available in the lobby.

Where is home : birds of passage uses dance, durational performance, installation, and storytelling to interrogate how immigrants are consistently stereotyped, exoticized, labeled, othered, and shamed. The piece explores alternative narratives for immigrants asked to perform their culture’s stereotypes, investigating the structural racism perpetuated by the use of these labels and the ‘othering’ of immigrants. This 3-hour performance spectacle examines the history of Italian-American immigration to the US. Using Italian culture as the core narrative, birds of passage will subvert this theme and then transcend it: sparking connections among immigrants of all cultures and proposing new ways for non-immigrants to engage and identify with these stories.

This is the first solo piece by lauded choreographer and hybrid performance artist Alice Gosti. It is based on her own inter-generational immigration story as an Italian American Immigrant—growing up the Italian-born daughter of an American immigrant, who later immigrated back to her mothers’ homeland. From this place, Gosti hopes to look for a way to be less angry and more in love with humanity again, to survive in between spaces, to hold multiplicity. “What is my own identity as an Italian and an American person, if I peel away all the layers of expectation, stereotyping and pop culture? Who am I? What is home? Where is home?”

Artist Statement: 

“Since I can remember I have felt misjudged, mislabeled. With an Italian father and American mother, I have been always considered the other. Born and raised in Italy, I was nevertheless considered “the American” – with all the positive and negative stereotypes that come with that. Now that I live in the US, I am again seen as an immigrant, an outsider, an exotic creature. I know I benefit from my privilege as a white person. In this country, if I don’t speak, I pass while immigrants that aren’t white don’t get to. But as soon as I speak, explain how to pronounce my name, I get asked : Where are you from?

What once felt like a question of friendly curiosity in the past years has become more threatening. Now, when a stranger asks, I worry that they are an immigration officer. I no longer explain how to pronounce my name. After fifteen years of living in the US, this continuous questioning of my identity has somehow broken my personality. I now feel anxious and defensive when asked ‘where are you from’. I used to be a lot braver, more talkative, less self-conscious, and much more in love with humanity.

Contemporary understanding of Italian culture is dictated by American pop-culture: The Jersey Shore, The Sopranos, The Godfather. Television and film paint a stereotype of  Italian identity that I must constantly navigate. I am asked “Are you mafioso?” “Are all of you fascists?” We are called guidos, wops. This stereotyping diminishes an entire culture, erasing the creative emotional rapture, strong sense of community and togetherness of Italian Culture.  I find myself increasingly frustrated and embarrassed with the depiction of  my Italian-side.

Where is home : birds of passage is a 3 hour come and go durational performance examining my personal experience as an Italian-American immigrant artist. Like all of my work, birds of passage connects my personal history to wider collective histories. In this work, I tackle the history of Italian-American immigration to the US as well as the ongoing struggle for justice and equitable treatment that current immigrants and refugees face today.

Supported by:

4 Culture Logo

Choreographed and Performed by Alice Gosti

Light and Set Design by Amiya Brown
Sound Design by Monika Khot
Dramaturgy and Text Support by Tim Smith-Stewart
Voice Support by Angel Itenchi

During Mussolini’s fascist regime, Malacarne was a derogatory term. It was assigned mostly to women who did not conform to the fascist ideal of the exemplary wife and mother. Whose conduct, exuberance, or emotions threatened the ideologies upon which fascist power resides. Whose physical body was determined inadequate to uphold fascist assertions of Italian biological superiority. These Malacarne were institutionalized by the state and often placed in solitary confinement.

We are MALACARNE: A new performance company directed by choreographer Alice Gosti that is focused on creating socio-political performance spectacles. We are interested in the way that history, politics, and architecture enter the body and condition the way we move and exist.

This production includes loud music and possible nudity.

ACT believes that our patrons can determine what is offensive for themselves, and what is appropriate for their children. We don’t create age restrictions but do our best to offer content advisories for each show. For detailed information about show content and possible triggers, please contact

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