Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Movie: What About Bob?
Favorite Location: St. John’s University 9/11 Memorial that provides a romantic view of the NY skyline at night
Favorite Season: Spring
Khalil is a student by day and a poet by night. A student at Queens College, Khalil studies psychology, but has a healthy number of courses in the dramatic arts. As a native New Yorker who grew up with exposure to the beauty that is Broadway, Khalil has always had a flare for the flamboyant. He himself has performed, not on a Broadway stage, but in the poetry cafes that also give life to New York. He’s a man who knows what he likes and is not shy about proclaiming it. Never is Khalil afraid to give a genuine opinion. Khalil Smith is a shy and reserved individual.
For this particular piece I shall bend the rules and say that the members of the Harlem Repertory Theatre were outstanding. I say this, to say, I was thoroughly moved by the performance and by the company and what it represents. As a poet, one of my personal heroes has always been Langston Hughes and it was his dream for theatre to be accessible to the people of Harlem, this company makes that so.
Con el pasar de los anos
Mi abuela no comprendía
Que el mundo va progresando
Que existe la medicina
Que existen computadoras
Que existe la geografía
Que todo no se resuelve
Bañado en agua bendita
To see the siblings Giovanni and Annabella go from hiding their love for each other to admitting their feelings and then acting on them... was for me cringe worthy. Actually that's exactly what I did, cringe as I yelled in my head "STOP, JUST STOP!". As the show continued, I saw how much Giovanni truly loved Annabella and although I was against the relationship, it was both touching and heartbreaking. They were truly in a beautiful nightmare.
I'm tempted to describe Doctor Zhivago as a beautifully written love story as it was described by the playbill, but I simply didn't see that. As an audience member I felt uncomfortable watching a married man heroicized for overcoming extreme odds to pursue his mistress as opposed to reuniting with his wife and young son. What further upset me was that his wife yielded to the mistress simply to secure her husband's happiness. I struggle right now because I strongly champion love, but at what cost?
Toast made us embrace an idea which we never thought we could, empathy and compassion for convicts.
Now I can translate.
I can understand what the dancers say with their bodies as they dance to a Civil Rights speech that although not musical by nature, possesses a steady beat. As two chocolate women become one, intertwining themselves on stage, a message of unity is drawn. There is no distinction between light skin and dark skin, it is a message that we are one. I went home content knowing that whether dancing to afro-beats, moving to disco, or pouring out one’s soul to gospel music, dance definitely communicates.
As I sit and attempt to recreate my experience, I find it extremely difficult. It's not difficult because the show was without value or content, but rather because the Blue Man Group was an extraterrestrial experience. The “aliens” swallow balls of clay and paint to create oral art. They throw toilet paper at the audience as strobe lights flash and percussion is played. These antics seem playful and childish but I have spent days searching for deeper thinking in a show where the players never opened their mouths to say a word yet still interacted with the audience.
I find that whenever a show involves the audience, there's a certain unique flare that the audience adds and boy was this a rowdy bunch I was with, most likely a result of the spirits in which they indulged. As Sam scans the audience looking for a lovely assistant, here I am, finding myself cracking up, holding my stomach for mercy as Sam makes the faux pas of calling up a young boy as his beautiful assistant. “What’s your name little girl?” ... “I’m a boy.” Pure comedic gold.
So I leave you with this food for thought...
Is on-screen nudity not a beautification of the human form and a promoter for positive self-image?
Should porn stars be condemned or should society recognize pornography as an art form (often indulged in)?
I find such irony in that there is fun and mystery in guessing how someone looks under their clothes, yet when the guesswork is removed I find myself shrouded in discomfort. I continuously tell myself if I look at their abs I won’t have to look at their penises and I can avoid the seductive gaze of the stage actors’ eyes...