Saturday, January 7, 2012

APAP Diary: "Word Becomes Flesh"

Okay, so this video of spoken word artist B. Yung at a 2009 poetry conference is here because, thanks to Marc Bamuthi Joseph/The Living Word Project's Word Becomes Flesh, I have now become a B. Yung fan. Word Becomes Flesh (2003)--running now at The Public Theater's Under The Radar Festival in association with 651 Arts--takes an audience deep into the experiences, thoughts and feelings of a young Black man dealing with realities of the streets, the system, sexuality, relationships and fatherhood. All six men who deliver Joseph's "choreopoem" or "spoken world" are talented and committed performers. But Yung, from his first moment on stage, takes command with an immediate "on" and firm grounding in the material and emotional roots of the work. It's a smooth and beautiful performance arising from the rough, complex context set out in the piece--strife, anger, alienation, self-doubt, self-delusion, longing, wild hope.

Scene from Marc Bamuthi Joseph's Word Becomes Flesh
Photo (c)Jati Lindsay

Some sections of Word Becomes Flesh have more punch than others, but the whole work and its individual performers gain authority as they proceed, and the fiercely assertive movement and acting rock steady. So go meet Yung and his five colleagues Dahlak Brathwaite, Daveed Diggs, Dion Reiner-Guzman, Khalil Anthony and Michael Wayne Turner III.

Word Becomes Flesh runs through January 15. For information and ticketing, click here.

The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street (just below Astor Place), Manhattan

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