A VIPER VAUDEVILLE
A theatrical concert exploring the history of cannabis using music, dance, and spoken word. The team includes Baba Israel as writer, performer, and co-director, Grace Galu as composer/performer; and dramaturg/co-director, Talvin Wilks in collaboration with Soul Inscribed and an ensemble of dancers. Inspired by Martin A. Lee’s book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational, and Scientific, this theatrical concert weaves the histories of icons such as Louis Armstrong and Bob Marley and grassroots activists such as Dennis Perron and Brownie Mary with personal narrative. Join us for a time-traveling tale of jubilation, injustice, and transformation.
Commissioned, developed and produced by HERE
Additional support for Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville is provided by the MAP Fund; the New England Foundation for the Arts; and made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
$30 with PROTO Pack
$65 with Premium PROTO Pack
66 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
Subway: 6 to Astor Place, F to 2nd Ave, or N/R to 8th Street/NYU
Bus: M8 or M15
La Mama Theatre is wheelchair accessible from a side entrance.
403 Lafayette Street
220 E. 9th Street
Grace Galu (Composer, Performer) is a vocalist-guitarist and composer who combines the sounds of her Irish and Congolese heritage with a soulful and gritty twist. Her mixed background, combined with her New York City upbringing helped to forge her wide range of musical ability. She grew up singing musical theatre from a young age, mimicking the voices of Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, and the operatic Kathleen Battle. She was simultaneously enveloped in the sounds of jazz, soul, and traditional African music, with influences ranging from Esther Phillips to Senegalese Ismael Lo. She works with Trusty Sidekick Theater devising new works for young audiences. She is a core member of Hip Hop fusion group Soul Inscribed.
Baba Israel (Creator, Writer, Performer) is an artist, producer, educator, and consultant raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. He was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre in Manchester where he developed several festivals and productions. He was a resident artist at BRIC creating his latest multimedia performance The Spinning Wheel in collaboration with London-based company Unfinished Business. He is a core member of Hip Hop/Soul project Soul Inscribed, which recently completed the American Music Abroad program. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and is the Co-Artistic Director of the Performance Project based at the University Settlement. He is a proud member of HERE’s HARP program and is developing his current production, Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville.
Talvin Wilks (Director) is a playwright, director, and dramaturg. His plays include Tod, the boy, Tod, The Trial of Uncle S&M, Jimmy and Lorraine: A Musing, and As I Remember It with Carmen de Lavallade. Major directorial projects include UDU by Sekou Sundiata, The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange, The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry, This Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers, The Peculiar Patriot by Liza Jessie Peterson, and The Ballad of Emmett Till and Benevolence by Ifa Bayeza. He is a co-writer/co-director/dramaturg for Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements and Collidescope: Adventures in Pre- and Post-Racial America. Dance Dramaturgical collaborations include six works with the Bebe Miller Company including Landing/Place for which he received a 2006 Bessie Award, Camille A. Brown and Dancers (Mr. TOL E. RAncE, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, and ink), and Urban Bush Women (Hep Hep Sweet Sweet, Walking with ‘Trane, and SCAT!).
Nic Benacerraf (Environment Design, Associate Director) is a creative director, scenographer, and public scholar. He specializes in highly collaborative processes that incorporate design from the get-go. Nic was co-Artistic Director of The Assembly (Seagullmachine, HOME/SICK), and recently co-founded [ [ edge effect ] ], a transdisciplinary group that playfully deconstructs the techniques of mass persuasion in our everyday lives. His collaborators include Trusty Sidekick (Up & Away), The Living Theatre (Here We Are), Waterwell (GOODBAR), HERE (Looking At You), The New Wild (Everybody Is Gone), as well as arts/activist groups: The Brooklyn Commune, Calling Us In, and The Yes Men. Nic’s learning communities include Wesleyan (BA), CalArts (MA/MFA), and the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is a Mellon PublicsLab Fellow and is finishing a PhD in Theatre & Performance.