We are butchering Ol man River. No, we aren't doing showboat but elements of the song appear. (Did I just give away something important?) I feel Paul Robeson's spirit in the room and he is vomiting.......even that sounds better than our poor rendition of the song.
Nick knows a lot about how to stage violence (and quite possibly off stage violence). I have begun to ask him about random scenes in movies and plays to see if he knows how they were done. I have yet to stump him. I need to go into my blaxploitation film grab bag. Lets see if he knows how they did the fight scenes in Black Belt Jones! There is no physical violence in our show though nunchucks are referenced - the word BOMB shows up quite a bit as well.
Amy, our stage manager, typically reels our focus back in when we go off on tangents about movies and medieval weaponry (that's all Nick). Though she did join in a conversation about the plays of Martin McDonagh.
Usman and Kelly are very good actors in addition to writers. I have such regard for the craft of acting. Acting is hard. It looks so easy because that's the point - to do it so well it looks natural and effortless. But its very very hard. As a spoken word performer I typically perform the words and not the moment as Kelly would say. I know, I know, if it wasn't hard everyone would do it. I know I should be grateful and I am grateful.....I'm just sayin.....for me spoken word is fun, acting is work. Don't tell anyone. I got a reputation to maintain. I'm just sayin....
The themes of the show aside, this fusion (or maybe I can say exploration) of different performance styles is what has become the most interesting for me. collage, monologue, song, sketch, commentary, commentary, commentary - the specificity of current experience - the sweeping indictments - the odes - the pace that we move from piece to piece - the windows into culture - the celebration of both community and self - this feels like just the beginning of what is possible for us nerdy hip hop kids with aspirations for the stage.