- Miles Johnson
- 16 August 2007
This article is from 2007.
This poet doesn’t get slammed
Set on an otherwise unremarkable day in 2006, slam poet Daniel Beaty’s one-man show Emergence-See! begins with New York City’s descent into chaos as a slave ship floats up from the Hudson Bay. Bobbing just below the Statue of Liberty and stacked with the skeletons of African slaves, still held within their shackles, the ship’s appearance begins to rip into the fabric of a black America that, for various reasons, has not been able to fully lay its past to rest.
Skillfully weaving in the conceit of a poetry slam concert into the action, Beaty allows himself to display his verbal dexterity without breaking from the urgency of the plot, in the process working himself towards a climax fitting for the intricate foundations set in the opening half. Pounding at the centre of the play’s frenetic narrative is Beaty’s multitude of performance skills, his body rarely pausing for breath as he leaps from the skin of one character to the next, singing, shouting and flinging himself about the stage, pausing only to wipe the sweat from his brow. Thought provoking without being overly sentimental, electric without being hyperactive, Emergence-See! is a finely honed piece of theatre that should certainly be seen. (Miles Johnson)
Assembly@St George’s West, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 20), 6.45pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).