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Published: July 16, 2019 Author: Staff reports


Tantrum Theater will present its first annual Tantrum Theater Summer Festival, a theater-focused, multi-disciplinary event over two weekends that features world-renowned artists performing on Ohio University’s campus. Opening on Friday, Aug. 16, the performances will capture audiences’ imagination, challenge them to think outside the known and leave them seeing the world in an entirely new way.

The festival’s first weekend on Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17 at 8 p.m., will spotlight Bill Bowers in “Beyond Words” at the Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater in Kantner Hall and the Affrilachian Poets in “Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets” at the Forum Theater in the basement of the RTV Building.

“Beyond Words” creates the scene for a cherishable memoir filled with music, monologues and mime in this exploratory investigation of the silence surrounding gender in culture today. Portraying the evolution from a boy to a man, Bowers draws his characters from real life and moves beyond simple anecdotes to create an inclusive montage that celebrates humanity.

“Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets,” represents and celebrates an enclave of writers of color in the Appalachian region. Founder Frank X. Walker, who first coined the term “Affrilachia,” established the group in 1991 and has been active ever since to give way to an inclusive community.

“Audiences will walk away from this reading with a more insightful understanding that Appalachia is not a homogenous area of unlettered, unwashed masses,” says poet and playwright Bianca Spriggs. “So often unfairly depicted by mainstream media and culture, [our region] is vibrant and complex, encompassing urban areas as much as rural, and houses a kaleidoscope of voices that represent the entire stretch of the 13 states.”

To add to the significance of “Black Bone” with the Tantrum Theater Summer Festival hosting these powerful poets, on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m., The Athena Cinema will screen “Coal Black Voices,” a documentary that provides a glimpse into the history and work of the Affrilachian Poets, as well as a vivid depiction of life in the American Black South and Appalachian region.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a community-centric writing workshop hosted by the Affrilachian Poets in the Baker University Center (room location to be determined). The event is open to the public and built for the community to connect and work with the poets themselves, sharing in their art with the aim of developing both voice and writing style.

The following weekend, Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24, at 9 p.m., Berlin-based theater troupe Gob Squad will take the stage in the streets, onstage and on-screen in its unpredictable mixed media performance, “Super Night Shot,” at the Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater in Kantner Hall. 

“Super Night Shot” is a unique multimedia performance event in which the actual filming begins just one hour before audiences arrive at the theater. That is when Gob Squad has a night out on the town with cameras rolling constantly. During this time, four performers document what happens to them and the movie showcases their journeys from each perspective. The streets become the film set. The local community becomes extras, actors, and helpers. Things like cigarette butts and trash cans are the props, while the graffiti and public art throughout the town become the backdrop. This is the movie of a lifetime - unique and quintessential to the space in which it takes place.

Tickets are on sale now and available by phone at 740-593-1780, online attantrumtheater.org and ohio.edu/event-tickets and in person at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium Box Office at 47 E. Union St., Athens. Business hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.