On stage now, as part of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s PRC2 series, Temples of Lung and Air is a fascinating journey written and performed by Kane Smego.
Kane shares his experiences growing up as a white boy in the south, a white boy with a black stepfather and a love affair with rap and hip hop. What emerges through a blend of poetry, storytelling, and music is a powerful narrative that makes us ask important questions and take a closer look at ourselves, our place in the world, and how we view others.
Kane Smego stars in “Temples of Lung and Air” directed by Joseph Megel. Photo Credit: HuthPhoto
One question thoughtfully posed through the context of the play is why hip hop isn’t often viewed as “art.” Smego’s brilliant storytelling elevates this type of music to its proper position and causes viewers to question why they haven’t seen it that way all along. Even though the answer to that question may be an ugly one, Smego does not villainize anyone with his work.
Instead, this regaling storyteller merely makes viewers think and leaves the judgment up to the individual. Using his body as an instrument, Smego not only discusses race and relations, but also plays with and questions language itself. He celebrates its ever-evolving state, yet is not afraid to experiment with it in a Gertrude Stein-esque way.
His stories and music come together, complete with projected images here and there, to form a beautiful and complex tapestry that will leave viewers pondering this production long after it’s over.
Joseph Megel’s direction is gentle yet flawless, allowing one vignette to easily segueway into another. Smego has full rein on the stage, and it shows in the clear, easy nature of the performance, which is helped along by Dominic Abbenante’s smooth lighting work.
Temples of Lung and Air is an immersive experience and a totally unique show, one that tackles tough topics but, at the same time, is wonderfully entertaining and honest. It’s a definite must-see for anyone who isn’t afraid to be challenged.
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