The Seattle Times recently began serializing Homer’s The Iliad. I saw that one morning as I read my morning newspaper and thought, “What a great idea.” Although, the short sections contain the essence of the story of the Trojan War, it misses the poetry of the original. Tradition says the writer of The Iliad was blind and went by the name of Homer. The story still has power, but at a reduced cost. Gone are musical words and phrasing . . . the rhythms, the changing tempos, the alliteration, the patterns and portmanteauxing, or linguistic blend of words into a single phrase like “fleetinthewindAchiles”. Hopefully, it will create an interest in both young or older readers to experience the joy of poetry in the form of the spoken word.
I was lucky. My fourth grade teacher read books or portions of books aloud to her classes fanning the flames of words. The Iliad made such an impression on me that when I had measles and stayed home from school for several days, I had my mother check out The Iliad from the Tacoma Public Library for me. Several years ago my wife Peggy and I saw a live production at Seattle Rep of storyteller Hans Altwies enchanting the audience with his verbal skills much as the early yarn spinners must have done around an evening fire over three thousand years ago.
Here in Tacoma, I don’t know of any stagings of The Iliad, but there is an upcoming production that I refuse to miss: Antonio Edwards, Jr. – Tacoma Poet Laureate 2009-2010 is returning to Tacoma for a spoken word performance.
When I first met Antonio, he wanted to be a rapper. I hired him as my assistant in video production. For several years we worked together telling stories with images, music, movement . . . and imagination. Those variations all evolved from the spoken word.
Best known for his prophetic poem “HILLTOPIA”, Antonio brings the oral art form of spoken word to life in his one-man stage production; “Speak No Evil”. Based on real life events, Antonio reveals how he finds beauty within the struggle and uses the power of words to shake off mediocrity, transcend beyond unfavorable conditions and rise to meet his greatest potential. Honest, poignant and thought-provoking, he delivers a performance that is charged with rhyme, rhythm, word-play and verbal assaults that just will not sit on paper.
Antonio will be performing three shows on Friday evening, October 27th (6:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:00 pm) at the Tacoma Youth Theatre. The admission fee is by donation. The Tacoma Youth Theatre is located in a 88 seat black-box theatre housed on the first floor of the Historic Pythian Hall, right across the street from the Broadway Center (the old Tacoma Actors Guild). He will also appear on Saturday, October 28th for two shows (10 am and 1 pm) at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. Ticket prices are free with paid admission to the Museum of Glass – $15 for Adults, $10 for Students and $5 for children.
Please, save the dates and times for a wonderful experience of spoken words and meet Antonio Edwards, Jr. – Tacoma Poet Laureate 2009-2010.