Residency: Dahlak Brathwaite & Roberta Uno

Blurring the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance

Dahlak Brathwaite and director Roberta Uno will conduct a two week workshop to explore the development of Brathwaite’s play Spiritrials. Roberta Uno is a theater director and the Director of Arts in a Changing America, a national project on changing demographics and the arts based at the CalArts. Dahlak Brathwaite is a multi-faceted hip-hop artist maximizing his abilities as musician, actor, poet, and educator within the transformational space of the theater.

Inspired by Dahlak’s hip-hop album of the same name, Spiritrials layers 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. In Spiritrials, addiction, religion and the law intersect at a state sponsored rehabilitation program. The piece examines the factors that have mis-placed young Black men in a rite of passage through the criminal justice system, chronicling the journey of criminalization and the struggle for vindication and decriminalization in the eyes of the law and society.



Student Team


Preston Butler III [A/17]
Jasmine Gatewood [A/18]
Julien Moore [A/17]
Frederick Douglas Ramsey Jr. [A/18]
Max Udell [A/17]

Design & Production: 

Scenic Designer: Tanya Orellana [ScD/17]
Lighting Designer: Bri Pattillo [SoD/19]
Sound Designer: Daniel Gower [SoD/18]
Producer: Ratri Anindyajati [Pro/17]
Choreographer & Stage Manager: Toran Moore [SM/17]
Production Stage Manager: Venice Yang [SM/18]
Assistant Stage Manager: Natasha Wells [SM/18]
Venue Production Manager: Jiao-meng Lin [PM/17]
Assistant Venue Production Manager: Ni Li [ PM/ 19]