“Brink City” is a nice way to repackage, repurpose the conversation about recycling, food products and efficient living. Plus, it’s aligned with Karamu’s purpose.
By RHONDA CROWDER
“Brink City – Green in the Ghetto,” created by Damien Forshe and Martinez E-B, adapted, written, and directed by Marvin Wright-Bey, opens at Karamu Theater tomorrow.
The play is based upon a comic book series of the same name. Martinez E-B, the graphic illustrator, is a former employee of Rid-All, a Green exterminating company here in Cleveland.
Forshe, co-founder of Rid-All Corporation/Green Partnership, the company that runs the urban farm on Kinsman Avenue, said the play is designed to bring awareness, particularly to youth, about the Green Movement, sustainability and recycling.
“I figured it would be a good educational tool for youth,” said Forshe, who proclaims to be a kid at heart. He believes this medium will capture the youth’s attention.
Forshe also said he always envisioned seeing this production at Karamu. He met Wright-Bey during a trip to Los Angeles while the introduction sparked from a conversation he held about – believe it or not – Hot Sauce Williams. And, ironically, Wright-Bey is an alum of Karamu.
“Marvin wrote the play and things started rolling from there,” Forshe continued.
And, once brought to Karamu’s attention, doing the play was a no-brainer.
“It really dovetailed nicely into where we see ourselves going into the future,” said Greg Ashe, executive director at Karamu, when asked why they chose to present “Brink City.”
He explained that Karamu’s mission is to strengthen the community through cultural arts and education programming with a focus on African-American heritage.
Ashe thinks “Brink City” is a nice way to repackage, repurpose the conversation about recycling, food products and efficient living. Plus, it’s aligned with Karamu’s purpose.
“It’s what we’ve always been doing,” Ashe said. “Aside from [Brink City’s] relevant message, it allows Karamu to play the role it’s always played in helping aspiring actors, artist to have a voice.”
Terrance Spivey, Karamu’s artistic director agreed. He also likes how it serves as a true representation of the creative process. “I love the whole evolution of what art can do…” said Spivey, who immediately saw the visuals within the play when the idea was brought to his attention. He sees it as “Theatre of the Didactic.”
“…From page to stage,” he said.
Spivey also believes the production can help bring awareness to what is happening with Black farmers. “It’s unique. I haven’t seen anything like it in other theatres,” he said.
“Brink City: Green in the Ghetto” runs for three Saturdays and is geared toward children as it’s very visual, includes multi-media, dance and Hip-Hop.
PolicyBridge, an African–American think tank, is one of several partners. In fact, the forming of the Green partnership and idea of creating the urban farm developed out of one of PolicyBridge’s reports “Rebuilding Blocks.” The report focused the best uses of vacant land in urban areas.
Randall McShepherd, of PolicyBridge, hopes “Brink City” will provide us with a better sense of who we are as a people.
“It would be great if people walked away with an understanding, a reminder of the roots of our community,” said McShepherd.
He also hopes viewers receive the message of environmental stewardship. “It’s up to us to take the land back and do something constructive.”
Overall, Forshe sees it as a production that children will enjoy while learning.
“It’s a real time, true life story,” he said. “Kids can see, live and be apart of it.”
Interesting enough, a young person is even involved in the production.
Rashawn Anderson, 19, of Cleveland, serves as the chorographer.
“I’ve learned a lot myself about the environment, resources and being healthy,” said Anderson.
Anderson started at Karamu, performing in “God’s Trombone” in 2009 and has danced here and there ever since. He asked if he could choreograph this year’s production of “God’s Trombone” but was told to start “Rid-All.” He said, “of course.”
And, through this experience, he sees growth and maturity within himself.
“I’m just happy to be a part of this project,” said Anderson.
For more ticket information or show times, call Karamu at (216) 795-7070