Friday, June 19, 2009

the break/s-- ACT

the break/s: a mixtape for the stage
June 17-July 12, 2009
Tickets and Information

“This story begins in the middle.” With the breaks, you step right into the mind and world of playwright and performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph. You hear and feel the world as it exists for him through his cross-cultural journeys in life and hip-hop. Thanks to the Hansberry Project at ACT, Bamuthi Joseph brings his unique spin and experience to the table for all to enjoy in this bountiful feast for the senses that is the breaks.

Bamuthi Joseph exudes the confidence and control of a mastermind at work. From the minute he walks out and bows at every corner onstage (is he praying or marking his territory?) he times every muscle movement and facial expression to the internal beat of the moment. He comfortably jumps in and out of the characters and emotional states that are weaved beautifully into his stories and magically related to specific people in the audience.

Photo by Bethany Hines.

But Bamuthi Joseph would be just another guy on a stage without his backup crew of Tommy Shepherd (aka Soulati) and DJ Excess. The beats and scratches that Excess and Soulati throw down are simply ‘sick’, but not as sick as how perfectly they timed their actions to invisible cues from Bamuthi Joseph. It is obvious that they rehearsed with and studied his actions to create such a fluid performance of music, soul, and story.

The technical elements (video by David Szlasa, lights by James Clotfelter, and set design by both) supported the performances exactly. Szlasa’s video clips acted alternately as the mood setter and action creator. Clotfelter’s lights created intimate scenes for Bamuthi Joseph to connect deeper with the audience.

Photo by Bethany Hines.

Michael John Garces handled fabulously what must have been the difficult task of reigning in the forces of this production. Every beat (musical and theatrical) was as tight as it could have been in this 80-minute drive-by of a show. Whether or not you particularly enjoy hip-hop, this is not an event to be missed. At the heart, Bamuthi Joseph is a master storyteller who will weave you through the delicacies and heartbreaks that come with the assumptions made about hip-hop, and human culture in general.

Review by Kacey Shiflet

1 comment:

Kacey Shiflet said...

Sorry for not having this up before the break of dawn. Internet difficulties until just now. :)