The location is Rich Mix, the event is on the way and I enter early afternoon into a gallery exhibition. In the centre of the room is a Machete in a glass case, especially forged for the event by Metalsmith Roxanne Simone. The many monitors around the room was displaying visuals to set the theme for the day. Around the room was photos shot by the amazing Ekua McMorris and art that was live painted by Dora Lam on the day of the film shoot. Not to mention specially designed one off outfits by Charlita ‘Lita-Styles’ Hall and Honey Malaolu, featuring jewellery donated by Lucie Gledhil that were involved in the videos and the theatre show. There was a live showing of the films and the music videos attached. Along with stalls selling drums, books and clothes and Kyle’s crystals wrapped in copper, you knew the frequency of what you were about to witness was high.
After the videos were shown and all the art was admired, there was a 2 hour interval to allow the changing over to the immersive side of the night. The live theatre experience.
The people assembled in there numbers once the doers was open. From 7 — 8 was a beautiful stream of people coming into a dim lit setting and the stage had a projected fire that had different members of the cast coming on stage to congregate round the fire. With the simplest of touches your already immersed in the immersive experience being provided.
The show starts. The silky tones of Muti ‘Mutivation’ Musafiri, the creative director, explains that this is an immersive experience and things will take place everywhere so prepare to move about. All the cast leave the stage. The room falls silent and the powerful affirmation chanting starts. Everyone can hear the voice but don’t know where she’s coming from. She chants words of affirmation as she floats thru the crowd to the stage. Queen Itricia had come to open the night and do the blessings. As she poured Libation and sang words of affirmation. You were transported into the settings. The drummers on stage, led by Dembis Thioung and Moussa ‘Koroleko’ Dembele provided the soundtrack to the intro. The Drummer was in full effect. As the tones travelled round the auditorium you could feel the energy being transmitted.
On stage came the Warrior Apex. He stands in awe for a moment soaking in the settings. Standing stage left he begins shelling songs of revolution as the dancers — Corrie Onyx David King, Grace Ogundipe and Andre Bright emerged in full blacked out revolutionary outfits. The dancing is representing the words being expressed and the synergy of what was being witnessed was mind blowing.
Dressed in beautiful blue robes came the Storytellers. The poetic narration from Poetikah and Guy Kelton Jones was a beautiful marriage of words. “Do you know what Nothing feels like” the prominent line uttered but then the poets describing “nothing” beyond your comprehension.
Being an immersive experience things were happening everywhere. So on another side of the room the dancers performed routines in front of a screen projecting images of all sorts. These powerful scenes were accompanied with Apex’s tracks. The essence of revolution was in the room.
Apex gave powerful monologues throughout the show. Things like his grandfather, and the search for a better life and dying working hard all his life in the coal mines. To powerful moments where he showed how in all of history to get what the oppressors have got, they’ve always used violence, and how it will take violence to stop the violence. The passion and delivery that went into these moments summed up the spirit within the Warrior that is Apex. A no nonsense straight to the point human willing to fight for human rights.
Along the way we were given beautiful moments of love and solidarity. The monitors located around were telling story’s and the soundscape by Tilé Gichigi-Liperé was perfectly designed to transport you along with visuals. There’s a song called “You” which is gently delivered and resonated soulfully. Along with the video on the monitors and the dancing on stage putting “You” in a picturesque moment of tranquility and unity.
Another powerful scene that stands out amongst the many was when the dancers were on the stage doing Qi Gong and Muti was floating around them like a wise sage, telling tales of cosmic connections. The imagery, presentation and narration was so powerful that you was hypnotised by this point.
I could go on for days spotting out the finer things but in conclusion this is definitely a bold statement. A fully immersive experience that will only grow bigger as time goes on. The results of 5 weeks rehearsals, one day actually getting to do the show in the space, and lighting that was done on the day. You wouldn’t of been able to tell at all. Credit to Village 101 and all involved that made this come alive.
I met a girl at the show. When she was leaving she said bye, but really emotional. I asked her what’s wrong and her response was “I needed this. This affirmation of live your life. Don’t let nothing stop you. This show was powerful on many levels.” This response was exactly how I felt and filled me with so much pride to know what was just a body of music, had taken on new life and become a real masterpiece.
Salute to the DRUMMER WARRIOR STORYTELLER
Keep up to date with Apex Zero and the Drummer Warrior Storyteller https://www.apexzero.co.uk/
Photography credit : Akil Wilson
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