Conceived and Directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Produced by MAPP International Productions
“It is a hard and obvious truth that people of color are under-represented in the environmental movement. It is also a hard and obvious truth that violent crime and poor education pose more of an imminent danger to most poor neighborhoods than environmental crisis. I personally am of the belief that the movement for social change and environmental accountability are one and the same, that focusing on steps to sustain the planet ultimately force us to envision a pathway to sustaining humanity.” - Marc Bamuthi Joseph
red, black and GREEN: a blues (rbGb) is a full-length, multimedia performance work designed to jumpstart a conversation about environmental justice, social ecology and collective responsibility in the climate change era. Combining dance, text and visuals in a new mode of kinetic performance, rbGb reunites six artists from the acclaimed work, the break/s: a mixtape for stage – writer/performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph; choreographer Stacey Printz; director Michael John Garcés; drummer/beatboxer Tommy Shepherd; documentary filmmaker Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi; and video designer David Szlasa. Joseph is joined onstage in the performance by dancer/ actor Traci Tolmaire and vocalist/visual artist Theaster Gates, who is also designing the set.
The creation of rbGb utilizes a dynamic research-to-performance methodology that yields community input as artistic resource material; specifically, the voices of people often left out of discussions about “living green.” This research has taken place through Life is Living–a series of community eco-festivals in urban parks nationwide featuring art, activism and education. Interviews, poems, films and murals from Life is Living are being translated into text, choreography and imagery that express the challenge of living green where violent crime and poor education pose a more imminent danger than ecological crisis, and that reveal emerging definitions of environmentalism in these communities.
Set into Gates’ malleable stage installation of repurposed building materials and clay objects, and heightened by Jacobs-Fantauzzi’s vivid films and vibrant graffiti murals from Life is Living, the poetry and performance in rbGb puts forward the idea that valuing your own life, and the life of your community, is the first step to valuing planet Earth.
red, black and GREEN: a blues will premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in October 2011. Presenters of red, black and GREEN: a blues may receive up to 50% fee subsidy through National Dance Project Tour support.
For more information, contact:
Cathy Zimmerman, Co-Director & Producer
excerpts from early writing red, black and GREEN: a blues
Let me tell you about Georgia red clay
Iron oxide based
Betrays centuries of blacktop in regress
A clear indication of the universe’s fetish for fingerpaint
Beneath your fingers it melts like warm of a woman in the heat of undress
Burnt dreams and soft yams red
Santana black magic sienna Hendrix hallucination red
So different from the gumbo dark delta soil
Georgia’s clay is the earth I first honored
Muddy water turned firm
I’m a city kid
In Atlanta I learned land
My sister calls them my shepherd years
Georgia red clay
Black people deep south
A young man, I was green…
. . .
In the end
The earth has her justice
What will we do when there’s nothing left to eat but money and regret
And the fungus and the stench of a bitter future black bagging us in the night for
The right to breathe clean air?
Maybe instead of rain they’re Begging the skies to release Mumia
Praying justice roll down like thunder
Apocalypse in the midst in the misting
In the hunger
Let faith settle under our feet secure in its foundation like red clay
Soft in its surrender like the earth under rain