Originally a one man show performed and created by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Word Becomes Flesh has been expanded into ensemble work with Dahlak Barthwaite, Daveed Diggs, Dion Decibels, Khalil Anthony, Micheal Turner and B. Yung. The piece harnesses spoken word, hip-hop music and contemporary dance to physicalise a series of letters to an unborn son.
The language in this play is amazing. The production stays true to its roots of spoken word. Younger audience members begin to snap at the verse, while those who are not familiar with the conventions of spoken word (that you snap at lines you enjoy) are left a little perplexed.
It feels like this show is particularly for a younger audience. The central character is only twenty seven (if I recall correctly) and there are hip hop references to people like Nicki Minaj. The choreography is almost post-modern, using dance like walking and hip hop moves. Everything melds together well. The actors transition smoothly from speaking verse to dancing to playing characters. They are all amazing dancers, it’s a shock to think they wrote it too.
I’m left wanting to definitely see it again. The entire work informs about black fatherhood without being preachy or accusitory. The words feel genuine, like he’s not blaming anyone but just reflecting on his own treatment of women and of becoming a man. I really, really recommend seeing it. Bring any new fathers! I feel like this work will connect to non-theatre goers as well.
Here’s an interview I found about it:
Here’s a little Slam Poetry performance that I’ve found of him!