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Life is Living Oakland 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 Life is Living Chicago 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Word Becomes Flesh 2011. Photo by Jati Lindsay/Hip-Hop Theater Festival^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1

Marc Bamuthi Joseph and /peh-LO-tah/

In my first memory of the game, we are running barefoot, uphill on limestone. Baby Doc Duvalier is chillin’ in a mansion in the distance, but here, every boy on my grandpa’s block is chasing a tennis ball bandaged in loose socks, passing it with our feet. NYC kid visiting for the summer, USA kid in the hemisphere’s poorest country, only time I fit in with the rest is inside of the game. My love of soccer is a heritage story...

-Marc Bamuthi Joseph

 

 

This latest multi-disciplinary performance work by award-winning poet-performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph  links culture and sport to the complexities of soccer as a conduit for both global joy and global corruption. Based on his experiences as a child of Haitian immigrants playing the game in the U.S., and the journals of his travels to the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil, /peh-LO-tah/ brings Joseph’s  explosive hip-hop style to bear on the political, economic, and social significance of the spinning ball (pelota) we call earth. It is, as quoted by Joseph himself, “a dance about the economy, choreographed to the rhythm of the beautiful game.” Joseph’s spoken word poems and charismatic storytelling will form the base of a theatrical experience featuring live music and choreography inspired by South African and Brazilian movement styles and techniques from the soccer field.

/peh-LO-tah/ is performed in multiple dimensions: through the moving bodies of the poets/musicians/dancers on stage, and through silhouette and shadow, all against a vibrant background of filmed imagery and video projection. Live music ranges from gospel and African-American spirituals to Bossa Nova and Brazilian carnival, to beat-boxing and hip hop.

Beyond the show, /peh-LO-tah/ features a powerful education and outreach component, engaging immigrant youth in soccer “clinics” and writing workshops, and academia with discussions around global economies, gentrification, and sports as politics.