Residency: Dahlak Brathwaite & Roberta Uno

Blurring the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance

Director Roberta Uno and writer/performer Dahlak Brathwaite return to CalArts to continue the development of Try/Step/Trip (formerly Spiritrials), inspired by Brathwaite’s hip-hop album, which layers characters, poetic verse, and dialogue over the content of songs to create a theatrical piece that blurs the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance. In Try/Step/Trip, addiction, religion, and the law intersect at a state sponsored rehabilitation program. The piece examines the factors that have misplaced 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.

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 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.