‘Beyond the Decade’ closes Signature season of urban poetry


‘Beyond the Decade’ closes Signature season of urban poetry

The 10th anniversary season of “The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show” draws to a close Friday, Dec. 1, at the Loft Theatre — spotlighting three powerhouse female poets prepared to provoke and enlighten “Beyond the Decade.”

Presented by Oral Funk Poetry Productions and the Human Race Theatre Company, this expressive and flavorful display of urban creative arts will be headlined by Jessica Care Moore, Georgia Me, and Queen Sheba.

Moore, a Detroit native and founder of Black WOMEN Rock!, notably has her work featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Georgia Me, an Atlanta native, particularly appeared in the 2002 Tony Award-winning production of “Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam.” Grammy-nominated Queen Sheba, a Detroit native and current Atlanta resident who was a featured performer on the second season of “Verses and Flow,” is an International 4 Countries Slam Champion and a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion.

“These women are poetic giants,” said Sierra Leone, co-founder and creative director of Oral Funk Poetry Productions. “A big part of our decade season was hinged on women because a large percentage of the work performed over the years derived from male poets. But in this particular time I believe our nation needs to hear the female voice. It’s the job of the poet to speak to the issues of their time. And right now, when you consider what mothering looks like from a universal perspective, it is healing. And that’s what women represent. We need voices of reason to penetrate layers of humanity. Women have always been called upon to do that work. We’ve always been able to bring communities, nations, together.”

Part of the evening’s “Beyond the Decade” framework will be a preview of Oral Funk Poetry Productions’ full-length production of “Pieces: Nina Simone,” originally conceived last season as “Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone and the Black Arts Movement.” Held at the University of Dayton, “Four Women” was a knockout showcase of story and song that brought a renewed relevancy to Simone’s impactful legacy. “Pieces” is still in development, but Leone continues to tweak the script while anticipating the company’s evolution in 2018.

“We can’t wait to show our video preview of the ‘Nina’ show,” she said. “Also, ‘Beyond the Decade’ for us means more than just producing shows. It might be producing more experiences that allow artists to craft their work such as workshops and theater-based programming that’s not a nighttime show. We might do more service-oriented work in the community. Oral Funk Poetry Productions will be a blend of many things beyond the decade, specifically focusing on arts and education, women and girls, and live theater. We will always have a place in our hearts for ‘The Signature,’ but in order for us to set the path to leave a legacy for all of our work it is required that we are called higher and answer that call. We are not one-dimensional.”

In addition, “Beyond the Decade” will feature The Signature house band El Coats and Premium Blend along with visual artist Erin Smith-Glenn, assistant professor of fine arts at Central State University.

“Our three headliners are able to cross the line for change in their own special way,” Leone added. “And that’s what we had to do as a company. ‘The Signature’ is a poetic revue that takes the feel of big city living and brings it to a space that has a down home sensibility. When you fuse those two energies together and make magic the result is priceless.”


What: “The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show: Beyond the Decade”

Where: Loft Theatre of the Metropolitan Arts Center, 126 N. Main St., Dayton

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Cost: $25

Tickets: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.

More info: Visit www.tripplecroxxent.org

FYI: “The Signature” is co-sponsored by the Human Race Theatre Company with additional sponsorships by Oregon Express, University of Dayton IACT, Black Box Improv Theater, WYSO 91.3-FM, Delish Café, Signature Educational Solutions, and Tripple Croxx Entertainment.

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