On the fourth floor of the Studio Theatre on Wednesday night three performers took the stage to create an ode to the five elements of hip hop (emceeing, beatboxing, breaking, graffiti, and b-boying).
The crowd was standing room only as all the seats in the theatre quickly filled and the audience gathered in spill over spaces in adjacent hallways and backstage.
Morganics opened with “Crouching Bboy, Hidden Dreadlocks”. To those who are not familiar with him, Morganics is an unassuming Aboriginal Australian who appears at first to be doing comedy opposed to performance art. The shock of Morganics’ deep knowledge and execution of all things hip hop and performance make for an incredible rapport with the audience and an ever more incredible show.
The highlight of Morganics’ performance was the variety there within. As Morganics required and got a lot of audience participation as he conducted a hip hop “class”. He flowed seamlessly between story telling through beat boxing, emceeing, spoken word, and breaking. Most fascinating is that throughout the performance the story line was never compromised, each piece fit into the scheme of Morganics and the personalities that he has taught and experienced over the years in many countries and continents.
Nicole Klaymoon followed, performing “The 6th vowel” Although this performance also relied heavily on comedy, the powerful underlying message of hope for those who think and feel differently that their peer group resonated loud and clear.
Klaymoon performed “The 6th vowel” as a hilarious, intuitive 5th grader who had been labeled as having learning disabilities and mental illness. She punctuated the comedic hijacks with witty observations, dance, and spoken word poetry to bring alive a well rounded character. Klaymoon was brilliant as she incorporated props and video in her performance.
Last was Baba Israel performing “Boom Bap Meditations.” Israel used beatboxing, emceeing, spoken word, and breaking to illustrate his life story through his experiences with hip hop.
Israel weaves an intricate tale of race in music with emphasis on hip hop. He underscores this lesson by giving examples of how we are all connected by common cords regardless of race, age, or gender. To illustrate, he juxtaposed three examples of people he has reached with his hip hop performance, including an elderly white woman, an African man, and his black wife’s parents.
Hip Hop Theatre Shorts I was an unforgettable set of performances by a brilliant lineup of solo artists. The show repeats Thursday, July 10th at 9:30 at Studio Theatre.
Did you see it?