|Singer Ronnell Bey|
from the 51st (dream) state
Last evening, the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in Soho presented Sundiata's final theatrical work, the 51st (dream) state, in an adaptation for radio broadcast before a live audience. It was directed by Arthur Yorinks and hosted by John Schaefer of WNYC's Soundcheck. The unusually close, intimate space at the Greene heightened connection between audience members and an array of wonderful performers including jazz singer La Tanya Hall (taking Sundiata's role of narrator) and the original vocalists, Ronnell Bey, Audrey Martell, Bora Yoon and Samita Sinha.
|La Tanya Hall as Poet/Narrator|
|Vocal cast of The 51st (dream) state|
L-r: Hall, Bora Yoon, Ronnell Bey, Samita Sinha and Audrey Martell
The 51st (Dream) State is a post-9/11 meditation and intervention. Although, as Schaefer chose to emphasize, this is not "a 9/11 piece," Sundiata did not shrink from vividly invoking chilling imagery from that time of horror. He did so with exceptional courage to witness reality, free of sentimentality, and to grapple with consequences. And then he urged us to move on because we must--as a nation in flux and possibility--visualize who we want to be when we grow up.
Sundiata concluded with this challenge: "Why don't we get our hopes up too high?"
The poet has gone. His irreverent question resounds.
Watch the Blink Your Eyes presentation of the 51st (dream) state in its entirety here:
Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited continues with these remaining programs:
Days of Art & Ideas: Democracy, Imagination and Peeps of Color Now, a panel discussion at Harlem Stage Gatehouse. Tonight at 7:30pm. For information and tickets, click here.
Days of Art & Ideas: Blood, Muscle, Bone: the anatomy of wealth and poverty. Discussion and presentation on community-engagement by dance artists Liz Lerman and Jawole Zollar at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall. Saturday, October 12, 4pm-6pm. Free with reservation. Click here.
WeDaPeoples Cabaret: Fall 2013 at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall, Saturday, October 12, 7:30pm. For information and tickets, click here.