Voice of the Americas
Voice of the Americas is a bold experiment in form and content. The performance incorporates live spoken word, original compositions and sound design with elements of theater to forma provocative, unsettling hybrid. It's part poetry, part theater and part symphony. Contemporary spoken word has just begun to explore it's own power and scope and \'Voice\' begins to push this art form from the coffee house to the hip hop symphonic and mainstage The piece serves up and alternative perspective, reflecting a deeply conflicted United States over the past ten years, and is told through various personas, sometimes speaking through those personas and at other time, about them. The work is broken into five movements, beginning, roughly, just before the outset of the twin towers attack. The first movement opens by evoking several critical figures in North America including Che Gueverra, Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The second movement surrounds the current wars the US has waged, it's messengers, and the consequences. Main characters include Colin Powell, President George W. Bush and Danielle Green a college basketball star who enlisted in Iraq and paid a heavy price for her service. The Entr\'Acte is no more than a radical manifesto in the multiple guises of many women who claim the spirit, if not the identity of Angela Davis. The third movement explores loss and legacy beginning with the death of August Wilson, one of the great playwrights of the 20th Century, and continues with a eulogy for Dr. Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, who died striving to provide a home to her troubled nephew. Dr. Shabazz has gone significantly unacknowledged as a voice of justice and consciousness as royalty never given her due. The remainder of the third movement expresses the conflicts of duality in a nation that pushes people to discard their indigenous national and cultural identities. The fourth movement visits a homeless guest seeking a little respect and dignity, and the Chief Engineer of the Narrows Bridge It continues in examination of the images and honesty expressed by the pioneer documentary photography of Gordon Parks (exhibited several years ago at the Tacoma Art Museum) and concludes with a four hundred year old story of flight which begins on the West Coast of Africa and continues, upward toward this day hinting at a new resilience and movement to come. The work is the full collaboration of professional spoken word artist Lucas Smiraldo, also known as \'Vanilla Soul\' and Wrick Wolff a composer and theater sound design artist who supports the spoken word with a bold and deeply varied sound design that ventures from Middle Eastern world rhythms to a haunting basketball echo morphing into the sound of gunfire and grenades. Voice of the Americas is also a live stage performance and debuted at the Broadway Cetner for the Performing Arts on May 2, 2008 with an eleven member cast and is available as a full two-act, 70 minute production with intermission.