If you could tell your unborn son anything, what would it be? Would you tell him about what it was like to hear his heartbeat for the first time? Or how scared you are? Or how to make it out in the world? “Word Becomes Flesh” explores just that through from an African American male perspective. Written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, this smart play matches spoken word with movement for a truly compelling piece of theatre. This production, winner 5 Helen Hayes Awards last season back for a special encore run, is truly remarkable.
“Word Becomes Flesh” was a beautiful production and, on a personal note, a reminder to me of why I love the theatre so much.
Psalmayene 24 directed this wonderful ensemble of actors to create an enticing story that pulls you in. It is told from a few different perspectives but they weave a beautiful experiential tapestry that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you laugh.
The five-person ensemble consists of Louis E. Davis, Chris Lane, Clayton Pelham Jr., Gary L. Perkins III, and Justin Weaks. In addition to winning the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Weaks earned the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. It is clear why these awards were given. These five men worked together seamlessly and created beautiful images with their bodies and developed dynamic chemistry on stage. All were strong actors and movers who commanded the stage individually and surrendered it to each other as an ensemble member.
Tony Thomas II choreographed this piece beautifully and allowed for the stories, emotions, and journeys to be experienced through the body, not just by hearing the words. It was athletic and beautiful. There were several movement sequences in particular that evoked strong and visceral emotions.
Sound Design and Original Composition was done by Nick tha 1da. He created beautiful underscoring which partnered perfectly with the words and movement. It was smart and not distracting. All of the sound elements just made sense and enhanced the experience.
Ethan Sinnott designed a simple yet appealing set and William K. D’Eugenio designed lights that helped the flow of the monologues along. The black and white costumes were designed by Marci Rodgers.
This remount of the last season’s successful run of “Word Becomes Flesh” is a part of Theatre Alliances’ Word Becomes Action Festival. This festival includes performances, post-show discussions, and workshops by local artists focusing on the African Diaspora.
“Word Becomes Flesh” was a beautiful production and, on a personal note, a reminder to me of why I love the theatre so much. If you missed it the first time around, make sure you see it before Oct. 8.
Advisory: Adult language
Running Time: 60 minutes.
“Word Becomes Flesh” runs at Theatre Alliance through Oct. 8. For tickets and more information click here.