Theatre Mirror Reviews - "ARTiculation"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Larry Stark


Created By These Writer/Performers:

Danny Balel
Tory Bullock
Terri Deletetsky
Adobuere Ebiama
Nik Walker

Production Advisor Shawn LaCount
Technical Director Mark Abby VanDerzee
Lights Operator Lauren Miller
Performed on the set of "Mr. Marmalade"
Produced by COMPANY ONE

This non-stop hour of poetry, sung, chanted, and acted by the poets themselves, will renew your faith in the art of the spoken word, and in the youth of America. It did mine. But look quick: after only two 10 p m after-show performances (on Friday and Saturday) this crew will go back to touring college and high-school campuses, while the individual poets turn back into students. Catch their excitement: you'll be glad you did.

Before I say anything more, let me lay out my prejudices, okay?
I'm only weeks shy of a 75th birthday, and my tastes in poetry (and jazz too) are definitely Moldy Fig retro. One day back in the mid-1980's I rode in the back of a Green Line trolley with a crew of Black high-schoolers doing insult-rhymes to rhythms they made with their mouths, their noses, their arm-pits, their hands --- and it was fun. But when the monotone-chanting got recorded and famous as Rap or HipPop it All left me cold: no melody, no music, kindergarden-rhymes --- all attitude, no art.
But this ain't like that.

These five performers Are poets: their quick strings of words come with ideas attached, often spit out in dancing unison only a syllable or two ahead of audience understanding, rattling on to new insights, glib yet apt comments on today's realities, clear-eyed judgements of the unfairnesses of it all. Embedded in the rhythms, always, is a lyricism and honesty enough to take your breath away. And they're never afraid to laugh, either.

I don't know how these poems might look frozen onto pages. but in the mouths of their makers they spring chameleon-like to life until, at final blackout, there's nothing an entire audience can do but leap to its feet shouting for joy.

Ain't nothing wrong with the youth of America a little genuine ART can't cure, and that's the truth.

( a k a larry stark

"ARTiculation" (17, 20 & 21 July ONLY)
Touring Company
@ COMPANY ONE, Boston Center for The Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON MA
1 (617)277-7032

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide