A radical new collaboration between two of the US’ most powerful and resonant new voices, Au Yong and Jafferis are redefining the American musical theater landscape as we know it. Byron Au Yong (歐陽良仁) combines classical music, Chinese folk music and American musical theatre with a penchant for the avant-garde. His works have been performed in theaters, museums and site-specific locations worldwide. Aaron Jafferis is a hip-hop poet and playwright whose works have been performed across the country, and performed at Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center and the National Poetry Slam Championships, where he was the 1997 Open Rap Slam champion. (BE)LONGING is the latest of several collaborative efforts between the two.
A new work by Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis
Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite
Designed by Ben Zamora
Choreographed by Ni’Ja Whitson
A project combining uniquely conceived community work and a grassroots national movement, (Be)longing is scheduled to appear in at least 6 cities across the US over the next two seasons, beginning with its world premiere at Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech. (Be)longing is a community-driven performance event reflecting our society’s collective emergence from large-scale tragedies featuring a choir of locally based performers. The project is realized in collaboration with Byron Au Yong, Aaron Jafferis, director Charlotte Brathwaite, choreographer Ni’Ja Whitson, and a stellar core of musical, movement- based and theatrical collaborators. Prompted by our collective understanding and judgments around gun violence, (Be)longing focuses on mental health and violence in a process for community performers culminating in a series of events with the staged oratorio’s performance as a central hub.
Local professionals, college students, faculty, staff and community leaders form the backbone of this theatrical oratorio performance where music, neuroscience, sociology and theatre intersect in an attempt to ask and answer the crucial questions that linger. (Be)longing is the second in a trilogy of music theatre works about what Americans fear. Asian men who are the subject of media blitzes in America prompt the circumstances for each show. The trilogy includes Stuck Elevator (fear of being trapped) which premiered at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco to glowing reviews, (Be)longing, and a third show yet to be determined by the American media.
Co-produced in partnership with Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech + International Festival of Arts & Ideas
Capacity: 100 – 1500 (plus local collaborators)
Stage: Proscenium / Black Box
Personnel: Up to 9
March 17-18, 2017 | Moss Arts Center (World Premiere) | Blacksburg, VA
April 21-22, 2017 | MDC Live | Miami, FL