Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Underground" - A Hip-Hop Trip On the Subways of New York

By Byrne Harrison

Underground is an exciting and vibrant look at the people that we see, or choose not to, on the subway every day.  Some are familiar - the homeless, the candy kids, the lechers, the theives - but some of them were new to me, or at least not the people I focus on when I'm on the subway.  It spins its tales of meetings gone awry, friends found and lost, lives ruined and hopes built using poetry and dance along with some good, old-fashioned storytelling.  The result is a terrific show that captures some of the complexity of living in the strange city.

The cast of Underground is uniformly strong and each has a chance to shine in this play.  The performers are agile, both physically and vocally.  In a play that seems to take such joy in language and movement, they would have to be.

The writers of the show, Edward McWilliams with D'Janau Morales, Reynaldo (Bamboo MC) Melendez, David Scott and Daniel Silber-Baker, have a real gift for capturing the language of the city and heightening it with poetry, while keeping it from ever sounding artificial.  It's an ability that not all playwrights have.

Underground is an exciting show that will no doubt have more productions in the near future.  Do yourself a favor and go and see it during its next incarnation.

Underground: Vignettes from a Manhattan-bound train
Produced by Poetic Theater Productions
Writen by Edward McWilliams with additional poetry by D'Janau Morales, Reynaldo (Bamboo MC) Melendez, David Scott and Daniel Silber-Baker
Directed by Axel Avin Jr.
Choreographed by Ezra Ezzard
Assistant direction by Dontonio Demarco
Costumes by Anita D. Ellis
Sound Design by Enrico De Trizio
Lighting and Video Design by Brad Peterson
Stage Management by Curtis Shaw

Featuring: Makeda Abraham, Keith Alexander, Devon Malik Beckford, Miss Al Boogie, Khadim Diop, Karen Eilbacher, David J. Goldberg, Osas Ighodaro, Joell Jackson, Ryan F. Johnson, Wade Ray, Tremayne "Tre" Rollins, Ronnetta Renay, Bharatta Salassie, Bheesma Salassie, and Candace Tabbs

Closed January 8, 2012

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