Artists & Projects Directory
Marc Bamuthi Joseph and /peh-LO-tah/
Word Becomes Flesh is a fluid evening-length choreopoem written in the form of a narrative verse play. Presented as a series of performed letters to his unborn son, the piece uses poetry, dance and live music to document nine months of pregnancy from a young single father's perspective. These performed letters incorporate elements of ritual, archetypes, and symbolic sites within the constructs of hip hop culture. Word Becomes Flesh evolves the realm of spoken word and realizes the form's theatrical potential as the poet/dancer cogently presents the complex contradictions involved in race, using the stage as an open page, and deftly writing the body as text.
While women continue to fight for their right to make choices about their bodies, the legacy of patriarchy and male privilege still allow a man the social right to choose domestic absenteeism and refrain from offering either emotional or financial support. Word Becomes Flesh critically, lyrically, and choreographically examines this phenomenon. In the process we confront the intersection of the physical reality and mythology of the black male body from the cotton field to the athletic field and all spaces in between. The piece is performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph with live music composed and performed by Paris King, Sekou Gibson and Ajayi Jackson. Other collaborators include dancer/choreographer Adia Whittaker and dramaturg Roberta Uno.
Word Becomes Flesh premiered in November 2003 at the Alice Arts Center (Oakland, CA) and subsequently toured through 2007 nationwide to venues including Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME), ODC Theater and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA), On the Boards (Seattle, WA), New World Theater (Amherst, MA), Dance Theater Workshop (New York, NY), Live Arts Festival (Philadelphia, PA), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), University Musical Society (Ann Arbor, MI), Miami Dade College (Miami, FL), and Dance Place (Washington, DC).