by NSangou Njikam and directed by Niegel Smith
Originally produced at Alley Theatre, Houston, TX
February 3 to March 5, 2017
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: "Now what you hear is not a test/I'm rapping to the beat!" Gordon wants to learn how to rap to the beat, thinking it will get him respect, admiration, and maybe his latest high school crush. What he doesn't know is his journey to learn how to rhyme will take him not just deeper into Hip-Hop, but deeper into his legacy and his true purpose. Based on true events, NSangou Njikam takes you into the world of the Emcee, using Hip Hop performance aesthetics like beatboxing, movement, and a live freestyle battle to discover what it takes to really freestyle rap. Syncing Ink follows the journey of a young man struggling to master his Word power, learn the elements of the art of Rhyming, and ultimately wield his Words to save the life of his most important mentor.
Artistic Statement: The quality of the work and the presence of an original and exciting voice is reason enough to produce the play, but we were also eager to include it in the season because it is not like the other shows the Alley Theatre generally presents. As we enter the next chapter of the Alley Theatre, following a massive renovation completed last year, we want to expand the notion of what the Alley does. The commitment to new writing and the launch of the annual Alley All New Festival is part of that. And presenting this fantastic piece of Hip-Hop theatre in our subscription season will be another way to show that the Alley’s artistic vision is expanding.
Grant Statement: Funding from the Edgerton Foundation will underwrite an additional week of rehearsal for the world premiere production of Syncing Ink. At the Alley, the development process will be overseen by our Artistic Director, Gregory Boyd, along with Elizabeth Frankel, Director of New Work. Elizabeth worked on the piece from its inception when NSangou wrote the play while in the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, a program she ran before joining us at the Alley. In the months leading up to the Alley All New festival, Elizabeth worked closely with NSangou and Director Niegel Smith, reading multiple drafts and sharing feedback. This process will continue through the rehearsals and opening night at the Alley. Niegel Smith, Artistic Director of The Flea as well as the play’s Director, has a keen dramaturgical eye and strong sense of how to shape the piece as well as how to bring it to vibrant life on stage.
Set Designer: Riccardo Hernandez
Lighting Designer: Kevin Rigdon
Costume Designer: Claudia Brown
Choreographer: Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio
Research Consultant: Sybil Roberts