For booking contact Joan Osato at josato@youthspeaks.org

Addiction, religion and the law intersect in a timely and personal exploration of the criminal justice system.

This multi-dimensional play takes its inspiration, as well as its name, from one of Dahlak’s most recent hip-hop albums, layering characters, poetic verse, and dialogue over the content of the songs to create a theatrical piece that blurs the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance. A timely exploration of the criminal justice system, Spiritrials chronicles the journey of Dahlak’s own criminalization along with his struggle to be vindicated and decriminalized in the eyes of the law and society. The piece works through the personal shame of criminal stigmatization to examine the factors – both internal and external – that have misplaced him in what appears to be a cultural rite of passage.

Written and performed by Dahlak Brathwaite
Musical accompaniment by Dion Decibels
Directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Sean San Jose

Collaborative Team: Tanya Orellana, Haldun Morgan, Joan Osato, Melvign Badiola, Courtney Flores

Thanks to Ithaca College and its Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity (CSCRE) for their artist-in-residence sponsorship during the initial stages of this project.

This work was developed while in residence at the Lucas Artist Residency Program, Montalvo Arts Center.

Spiritrials is made possible through the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Columbia Foundation and Ictus; a fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project is a NPN Partner for the National Performance Network (NPN). This project is made possible in part by the support from the NPN Creation Fund, NPN Forth Fund and the NPN Performance Residency Program. Major Contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (A Federal Agency). For more information: www.npn.web. Co-Commissioners include Legion Arts (Cedar Rapids, IA), Maui Arts and Cultural Center (HI), and Hi-Arts (New York, NY). Principal development support was provided by Painted Bride Arts Center (PA), Ithaca College (NY), Sonoma State University, and the Montalvo Art Center (Saratoga, CA).

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