Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion Live! The Realest MC at the Kitchen
It was Pinocchio’s quest to become a real boy, to revel in his realness, listen to his heart and to be what he truly was. Kyle Abraham has attempted a similar journey of discovery in Live! The Realest MC. The piece is apparently semi-autobiographical in concept and construction, a weaving journey into the sub-conscious and real, a series of portraits that seemed inevitable to his life.
In a complex path of gender stereotypes merged with popular conception we are offered a glimpse into the workings of Ms. Abraham’s mind. He is exploring the idea of what is masculinity and the view of what is allowed and what is frowned upon in regards to sexuality with in black American. Also, he gives an implicit view of the influence and confliction that exists with-in the confines of the Hip-hop culture for a Gay man.
The piece begins with Mr. Abrahams, lying on the floor in circa 1970’s disco attire, gold lame pants and a top of mirrored sequins.( The mirrors perhaps a representation of reflection and introspection?) He stands and moves as if a puppet, a look of confusion and uncertainty on his face; he seems controlled by the strings of an unknown force. Soon he is joined by dancers that move with great athleticism; Mr. Abraham’s choreography is fast with a furious nature.
Mr. Abraham’s choreographic scope encompasses a wide array of movement styles, undertones of classical ballet intermingling with popularized hip-hop moves, klumping, voguing and every now and then a bit of preening.
Live! The Realest MC at times seems intensely personal, leaving the audience feeling somewhat voyeuristic. There are moments of abandonment, when dancers become engrossed and lost in their movements only to be calmed and then reassured by other dancers. Mr. Abraham utilizes a video montage of a child caressing a flower, running and being chased by a group of youths, perhaps a reflection of his own experiences.
There was a humorist section when an instructional video was shown of how to dance hip hop. It gave elaborate instruction on how to be “gangsta” by a white soccer mom with a southern accent, exhibiting moves that were so badly conceived they were slightly painful to watch.
There are many instances when extreme masculinity is morphed into anything but masculine. Where in we find the serious questioning and out rights attacks of stereotypes, challenging there placement and importance within our society. Homophobia is put under the microscope and dissected like a frog in a chemistry lab. We see the uncertainty, false bravura, conflict, despair and tragedy that it can inflict.
Mr. Abraham lays bare the pain of a victim of homophobia who was attacked just for holding hands with his boy-friend and though spoken-word we are witness to the scars upon the human psyche it can cause. We glimpse a bruised soul who struggles with the justification of such brutality and the determined spirit that arises from it and refuses to be beat down.
Live! The Realest MC is an emotional journey, not just for Mr. Abraham’s but for the audience as well. It left us reviewing the reality of homophobia, still prevalent in today’s society. With razor sharp precision it reminds us of the damage it can cause to the human spirit.
Live! The Realest MC
Lighting Design: Dan Scully
Costume Design: Kristi Wood
Visual Artwork: Carrie Schneider