If you’re not familiar with Greek chorus or spoken word, the brilliance behind We Fight, We Die may just go over your head. Written by Timothy J. Guillot and directed by Alvin E. Ford Jr., the play eloquently combines classic technique with two urban art forms: graffiti and spoken word poetry.
Alexander R. Butler, Michael Rodriquez, Tia Dolet and Ava Jackson make up the Greek chorus, commenting on the play’s action through poetry, song and movement.
While the Greek chorus is captivating, the action of which they’re commenting on is a paradox. At times both inspiring and mundane.
Q (Jeff Kirkman III), a homeless graffiti artist, is blackmailed by Mayor Sandra Fishman (Sarah Stephens) into licensing his talents to the local government. On the surface, his dilemma doesn’t seem like much of a dilemma. Work legitimately for the government and avoid jail, so you can continue to protect your loyal follower, Wits (Stanley Andrew Jackson III). Seems simple.
In fact, even as Q reveals his back story of a troubled childhood--which offered an explanation for his defiant lifestyle--his motivation seemed more selfish than protective.
But where the plot lacks practicality, Junesong Arts’ overall production recompenses.
Transitions are seamless from lighting to subtle music. The choreography was simple, yet poignant—giving Guillot’s prosaic words force. The set—the walls and floors splattered with graffiti by local artists-- transplanted the audience into an urban underworld.
But what makes We Fight, We Die brilliant is not the set, the words, the direction, or the actors—well, not alone. It’s its cohesive combination that prompts us to ask ourselves new questions.
What would you do to protect your pride, your loved one? Would you fight? Would you die?
We Fight, We Die runs Thursday-Saturday through November 12 at Mead Theater Lab in NW Washington, D.C. Tickets are $10-15. Click here to purchase or for more information.