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Ralph Lemon
Mar. 27 — Jun. 29, 2014

Exhibit: When the Stars Begin to Fall -Imagination and the American South / Studio Museum of Harlem
New York, NY
Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Word Becomes Flesh 2011. Photo by Jati Lindsay/Hip Hop Theater Festival^1 Marc Bamuthi Joseph in rbGb with audience looking on. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Chicago 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Chicago 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Marc Bamuthi Joseph in rbGb. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1

Marc Bamuthi Joseph/The Living Word Project

"I left the theater wondering if I had ever seen a production that so deeply honored people's stories, interactions, hopes, obstacles, grief and potential" - Berkeley Graduate

red, black & GREEN: a blues (rbGb) is visceral and moving hybrid performance work that brings the stories and voices of Black America into the center of a timely conversation about race, class, culture and the environment.

With passion and energy, intelligence and sweat Marc Bamuthi Joseph and his fellow cast members lead the audience through four seasons in four cities -- summer in Chicago, fall in Houston, winter in Harlem, and spring in Oakland. Within these literal spaces, the narrative exists in more poetic and ephemeral space, toggling between the realities of shotgun houses, subway cars, park benches, and father son conversations, to more figurative spaces of collective memory, hallucination, dream and lament.

In honest performances ranging from deeply sad to hilariously funny, the work expands beyond the stage to embrace the stories of individuals in communities around the country. New and inspiring definitions of sustainability emerge from tales of survival and the complex beauty and struggle of human interdependence. Beyond hoping that audience members leave the theater to discuss environmental themes over dinner, rbGb aims to inspire new definitions of sustainability that lead to compassionate and humane action in the real world.

A deeply collaborative creation directed by Michael John Garcés, rbGb combines dance, poetry, music, and visual art in a new mode of hybrid performance. The interactive stage set/installation designed by contemporary art star Theaster Gates is a full character in the piece, and vivid films by Eli Jacobs Fantauzzi bring the outside world into the theater. Additional collaborators include artists from Joseph's previous highly acclaimed work the breaks -- choreographer Stacey Printz; musician and composer Tommy Shepherd; lighting designer James Clotfelter; and media designer David Szlasa. Joseph is joined onstage in the performance by Shepherd, dancer/actor Traci Tolmaire, and vocalist Yaw. Also joining the team is costume designer Mai-Lei Pecorari.

Run time: 90 minutes