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Artist Series Schedules Urban Theatre Piece: \'Slanguage\'

(Posted September 27, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Fusing poetry, theatre, jazz, hip-hop, politics and a variety of musical styles into moving and entertaining theatrical productions, the ensemble Universes has created "Slanguage" as a communal poem to be performed at 8:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata College campus.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Artist Series, please call (814) 641-3605. General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

The five-person cast formed the group in 2002 and created the work "Slanguage" shortly thereafter. Each performance of "Slanguage" is different from the last. The ensemble uses improvisation and some audience participation to keep performances fresh and exciting.

The theatrical constructions used by the ensemble combine interpretations of poetry from such revered writers as Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, John Keats and John Milton. The group also claims such beat poets as Allen Ginsberg and children's author Doctor Seuss as major influences.

By creative use of set design, sound effects and their own ingenuity, the actors can create the feel and sound of a subway car or the lively interplay of a city street.

"Slanguage" was created by Universes, a group of writers and performers who grew up in the South Bronx in New York City. The ensemble members are: Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz, Gamel Abdel Chasten, a one-named actor called Lemon, and Flaco Navaja.

The group has performed across the country, including Los Angeles, Calif., Amherst, Mass., and New York City. The group also has written and performed other works, including "Rhythmicity: Flipping the Script," "The Ride" and "Eyewitness Blues."

The production is presented in about 30 separate scenes, some of which are performed solo or with combinations of cast members.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.