You might catch Summer Hill Seven bobbing his head to some hip-hop track one second and reciting a Shakespearean monologue the next. He keeps his urban sensibilities intact while expanding his mind and his repertoire. "All those plays that we lovingly refer to as the 'dead white men plays -- Shakespeare, Shaw, Chekhov, Sheridan, etc. -- that was my literary diet for three years. It was an acquired taste, I promise you, and yet it is an undeniable influence on my daily life."
New Times: First, tell us about poemedy. What is it?
Poemedy recognizes that every syllable uttered by humans is in fact a poem. Why? You may go to any open mike venue or location where people gather to hear poetic words spoken - stand before them and utter any syllable, sit down and wait only moments before the room will fill with wild applause for your utterance. Why? Why not?
Yes, while some people think of me as a part of the hip-hop theatre genre - and I am proud to be associated with any facet of hip-hop culture because that is the aesthetic that I most closely identify with - I also admit many other influences. Not the least of which is studying in an acting conservatory devoted to performing the great plays of the western cannon.
I especially identify with George Bernard Shaw. So when David Lamb and I worked on his first two plays together, Platanos and Auction Block, we both agreed that Shaw was right that you could tell people the truth but you have to make them laugh first. It would take one minute to tell that story [of Ruben Stacy]. I eventually want to take 70 minutes to tell the story to a Broadway audience.
I mean everyone in my family is a different skin tone or complexion and my own mother would often say that she was not black. I have always focused more on the tastes and cultural practices and values of a group of people rather than the skin color of the person or their parents.
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