For Little Black Afro Theatre Company, work often means play.
Through play and experimentation, Little Black Afro was able to transform their upcoming production Carbon, into what it is today, says Artistic Director and performer Luke Reece.
Carbon is a new development of the company’s 2014 Hamilton Fringe show entitled Carbon Copies, which told the story of a young man who is stuck in a bizarre identifiable world and meets a variety of characters with unique stories, while stumbling to find his way out.
Reece says though both shows feature a mixture of slam poetry and spoken word, Carbon will focus more on the personal and individual stories of the five poets involved.
“We weren't there yet last time,” Reece said. “There was a special energy and warmth in the show that was fostered by everyone who was a part of it, but it wasn't fully grown yet. We had more to capture, more to say. In this new version it focuses on their individual stories.”
Reece says he was inspired to pursue slam poetry with the Little Black Afro team, following his first trip to a reading in 2013.
“I witnessed complete strangers stand in front of an audience and articulate their thoughts and concerns about humanity using an honest, immediate and engaging form of language. I wanted more of this. I wanted this in theatre,” he said.
Director Jordan Laffrenier says he is most excited about the risk the show involves by marrying two different mediums in a vulnerable way.
“We are playing with, (and) building on, ideas that have been done before. We are examining questions like: what happens when the neo-futurist aesthetic meets slam poetry?”
Reece says his company’s greatest challenge in creating this performance is dealing with the unexpected nature of developing these human stories. He says the process is constantly changing.
“We thought we knew what this show was going to be, and we were wrong,” he said.
“Always allow space for change and the unexpected. This show is unexpected.”
Carbon: A Workshop Performance will be running at the Aki Studio Theatre (585 Dundas Street East) from March 16-19. Ten per cent of box office revenue will support Louder Than a Bomb Canada, organized by the Hamilton Youth Poets and Nea Reid.