In addition to being a child of hip hop culture, I also like to consider myself an actor every once in a while. Actually, if I'm being a snob about it, I prefer the term "theatre artist." But we'll see how that one goes in the months and years to come. Right now, I'd be happy with "that dude I saw in that play that one time."
Tonight I had my first rehearsal with my cast mates of Waiting for Lefty, an incredibly powerful and moving piece of theatre currently in production at South Camden Theatre Company in Camden, NJ. Waiting for Lefty was written in 1935 by a playwright named Clifford Odets. It follows the stories of employees at a fictional taxi company in New York and their plans to walk out and strike in demand of better wages and working conditions.
I am exceedingly excited to be a part of this production. I've wanted to work with Odets material for an incredibly long time, and especially this particular play. Odets is considered to be one of the seminal American playwrights of the 20th century and this play is credited as one of his masterpieces. For me, he writes with an industrial sense of urgency which appropriately mirrors the dire conditions of his socio-political environment. Every voice he pens speaks in ironclad terms, and gives no room for misunderstanding. When I hear his plays rehearsed or performed I can't help but wish I could have been there to hear people speaking like this on the streets or in the shops. I'm always thinking, "This can't be real! They spoke like this!? This is fantastic!"
I'll leave it to you to wiki Odets and the plays he wrote. Instead, I'll share with you a video I found a few weeks ago of Lee Strasberg. Odets and Strasberg were members of The Group Theatre, a collective of actors, directors, and playwrights who collaboratively created theatre with which to comment on their society. Considering they formed two years after the Wall Street crash of 1929, which eventually led to the Great Depression, you can imagine they had lots to say.
Nevertheless, when I read Odets, a voice like Strasberg's is the one I hear; piercing, staccato, allegro, New York, Jewish (Hey, let's be honest!).
If you happen to be in the Philadelphia area during the first few weeks of February and you fancy an evening at the theatre, come see this show. We had a good rehearsal tonight and I feel this is going to be solid piece of art.
You can get more info on the show here.
I must give my homie Ron a big thank you for doing a wonderful write-up on my fledgling blog. He had some extremely kind and flattering things to say, and I've been an admirer of the dedication and passion he expresses everyday on his site. Please have a look at his work here. He's got more than a few milliseconds of genius over there.
Also, big props to my homegirl Jenn for reminding me of the J Dilla Foundation in response to my post yesterday, which is an organization committed to funding music programs in inner city schools. If you're thinking of donating more in the new year, this is an effort that is definitely worthwhile.