Artistically I’m in the biggest fight I’ve taken on yet. I find myself always drawn to something bigger then what I may be prepared for. The benefit is that when I conquor it I move up a level. There is no downside, except the deep feeling of being overwhelmed, but even that in the end is good cause it keeps me from being lazy.
I have been working for the last two months on my biggest play project to date, Julius X. “Julie” as I sometimes call it is a “Poetical” that is a re-envisioning of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The play takes place in the 1960 within the power struggle in the Black Muslim Organizations. So Julius is basically a Malcolm X like figure. What makes this so difficult? Everything about it. In theory it’s an intriguing concept, in practice, it’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. For those of you just tuning in (where you been?) a POETICAL is a new genre of theater I have created (I use the word created loosely) a poetical basically works like a musical but instead of the actors breaking out into song, the dialogue leads to performance poetry. The type of poetry heard in a poetry slam. So that’s the first difficulty. Writing 9 poems, each with their own rhythms and each poem must push the story forward. Secondly the concept of “re-envisioning” Shakespeare. So many people love his work, myself included, all eyes will be on me, and how I handle reworking something that most people feel is genius. Who am I to re-envision any one? Third, Malcolm, the Nation, the 60’s all of these hold special places in people’s hearts especially black people. I want to do something that moves people, that gives us a different perspective on the world around us, and the history behind us. That’s what has drawn me to this subject.
The writing has been extremely slow. Mostly because I’m trying to balance Shakespeares language with the contemporary venacular of the 60’s. The poems are coming even slower, but I knew that would happen.
I see this piece actually branching out and being bigger then just a poetical. I’d really like to work with a Jazz Musician who understands Hip-hop to create something that has never been seen before. A Poetical-Jazz-Opera. Man it could be hot. I’m seeing it as I write this.
The novel is coming along. With Julius premiering in Feb. I needed put Julie first so, the novel is standing still, it’s a slow process but I’m happy with what I’ve gotten so far. If it takes 10 years, that’s cool, as long as I finish.