I’m learning to never miss a Kevin Ramsey play. He is picking up where August Wilson left off.
I reviewed Chasin Dem Blues back in April which was amazing, and last night I saw A Cappella Humana which was just as great but so very unusual.
Imagine “The Nativity” story presented as a musical in a slightly futuristic time, staged as a multimedia reality show within a reality show.
Mary was white, Joseph was black. The three wise men were two ladies and man who were picked off a New York City street to compete for a huge prize by being contestants in the reality show. The reality show’s host was also the Messiah. Needless to say, it took a moment to get a grip on how everything worked together.
All the music was provided by an awesome cello soloist along with a human beatbox. If I hadn’t seen the beatbox guy doing his thing, you could not convince me there wasn’t a set of drums and a percussionist on the stage. I’d never be able to describe in words how good this guy was. He puts the Doug E. Fresh types to shame.
This play probably has a target audience. I’m not convinced that the mostly white, over 60 audience that attended last night’s show appreciated what was going on as much as a 50 and under black church going audience would.
Even though the play was based on “The Nativity”, the presentation put a lot of emphasis on modern media -- heavy use of hiphop and gospel music; social media inferences like Twitter, Facebook, Smart Phones, etc.; and the reality show format like you’d see in Lost, Survivor, and the Amazing Race.
Even if you didn’t follow the story, the music and singing was over-the-top. The talent of the small cast was as good as it gets.
The play is around until Sunday at the Delaware Theatre Company on the Wilmington Riverfront. $35 and up. Tip - sit on stage-right so you can see the hidden camera.
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