By Robert Rogers
Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 5:58 pm in Contra Costa County.
RAW Talent Presents an Encore Production of…
A Spoken Word Theater Piece by Richmond Youth
WHEN: 6-9pm, Friday June 14th & Saturday June 15th
WHERE: El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater (540 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito)
RICHMOND – After selling out the first production in February, Te’s Harmony is back by popular demand! This spoken word theater piece was written and performed by RAW Talent, the creative arts department of the Making Waves Education Program, and directed by Donte Clark and Rooben Morgan.
Members of RAW Talent will present their modern-day rendition of Romeo and Juliet for the stage, reworking the Shakespearean masterpiece into an allegory for the socio-economic conditions haunting their city and their daily lives. It is the classic tale of star-crossed lovers when Te’ from North Richmond falls for Harmony from Central, and they must fight for love in the midst of a war that has devastated their community for too long.
The students of RAW Talent have been deeply impacted by violence in Richmond, and they are determined to continue demanding change through their art. After putting on poetry shows and town hall discussions around gun violence, poverty and the prison industrial complex, they have decided to address these issues facing their community through a new medium: theater. The students and staff have written their first play, a heart-breaking and at times humorous reflection of daily life in Richmond. Te’s Harmony will push the boundaries of artistic genres, and ultimately push the audience to question the culture of violence in our city; to re-imagine Richmond through the lens of love.
While the play itself serves as a call to action for the audience, we will move beyond the stage and have anti-violence community organizations onsite to offer resources and volunteer opportunities for those who are moved by what they see. We are also very excited to announce our opening act on June 14th will be YGB Gold (Young, Gifted & Black) and our key-note speaker on June 15th will be the widely-known emcee, poet and peace advocate, Dennis Kim (aka Denizen Kane of Typical Cats)!
“Te’s Harmony is just such an example of how the arts energize and harmonize. How naturally and poignantly young people turn to words, stories, songs, or performance, especially in the most dire and derelict of places. In the shadows can come much light, much music, much truth.” -Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running
Te’s Harmony will be a mash-up of theater, poetry, dance, music and film, remixing Shakespearean verse with spoken word and Richmond vernacular. The script pays homage to the cannon while honoring and centering the language of Richmond youth. Te’s Harmony has been published as a book with Red Beard Press, a youth-run publishing press in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We believe that the script could be used by English teachers nation-wide as supplemental curriculum alongside Romeo and Juliet, to engage students in the classic story and help them make connections between the text and their lived realities.
Film-maker Jason Zeldes is creating a documentary, “Romeo Is Bleeding”, that follows the members of RAW Talent as they prepare for the play. It focuses on student-turned-teacher Donte Clark and his deep desire to change Richmond through arts activism. Zeldes hopes to combat the tragic narrative of Richmond in mainstream media by shedding light on the positive work of these young people. You can watch the trailer for the documentary at the following link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/921886202/romeo-is-bleeding
Tickets can be purchased at: http://tesharmonyencore.eventbrite.com/
Advanced tickets (5/9-6/13): $20 adults/$8 youth At the door (6/14-6/15): $20-$30 (sliding scale) adults/$10 youth
VIP* tickets (4/29-6/15): $45/all ages
*VIP: prime seating, a free book, and a chance to meet the cast backstage after the show!
*”Youth tickets”- 21 and under *Teachers/youth workers who want to bring groups can contact Dionne Teasley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on group discounts
Articles on Te’s Harmony:
This will be RAW Talent’s biggest show yet- please spread the word and sell all 1200 tickets! All proceeds go towards RAW Talent workshops, field trips, retreats, shows, and expanding creative arts programming within the Richmond community.