“Now what you hear is not a test/I’m rapping to the beat!”
Gordon wants to learn how to rap, thinking it will gain him respect, admiration, and the attention of a beautiful woman. What he doesn’t know is that his journey to learn how to rhyme will take him not just deeper into Hip Hop, but deeper into his legacy and his purpose. Based on true events, NSangou Njikam leads us on a lyrical voyage to discover what it really takes to freestyle.
This New York premiere production will be directed by Niegel Smith and will feature McKenzie Frye, Nuri Hazzard, Elisha Lawson, NSangou Njikam, Adesola A. Osakalumi, Robyn “DJ Reborn” Rodgers and Kara Young. The creative team includes Riccardo Hernandez (Scenic Design), Claudia Brown (Costume Design), Kevin Rigdon (Lighting Design), Justin Ellington (Sound Design), Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio (Choreographer and Associate Director), Taisa Malouf (Associate Scenic Design), Sybil Roberts (Dramaturg), Kristan Seemel (Assistant Director), Sarah Lawrence (Assistant Costume Design), John McKenna (Assistant Sound Design), Michal V. Mendelson (Production Stage Manager) and Violet Tafari (Assistant Stage Manager).
NSANGOU NJIKAM is an actor and playwright originally from Baltimore, MD. He is the author of Syncing Ink, Re:Definition, I.D., When We Left, Search For The Crystal Stairs, and one of the authors of Hands Up: 6 Plays, 6 Testimonials. His work has been developed by The Public Theater, Penn State University, The Flea Theater, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, UNIVERSES theatre company, New Black Fest, and the Alley Theatre. Mr. Njikam’s play I.D. recently made its world premiere at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa before coming to the U.S. at Penn State Centre Stage. His playwriting residencies and fellowships include 2015 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater, 2013 New Black Fest fellow, and Penn State University commissioned playwright. As an arts educator, Mr. Njikam has worked for Brooklyn Academy of Music, CUNY Creative Arts Team, Harlem School of the Arts, and is cofounder of The Continuum Project, Inc., an organization using African Ancestry DNA testing and the Arts to promote healing and empowerment for communities. Mr. Njikam’s work focuses mainly on Identity stories and the empowerment of the human spirit by recognizing and embracing one’s personal gifts, utilizing Hip Hop theatre, poetry, and West African performance aesthetics. He also aims to develop new, diverse and younger audiences by creating “theatre of the now and for tomorrow.” He received his BFA in acting from Howard University. After tracing his roots to the Tikar people in Cameroon, West Africa, he was named NSangou by Sultan Ibrahim MBombo Njoya, 19th king of the Bamoun kingdom in Cameroon. He currently resides in New York.
NIEGEL SMITH is a theater director and performance artist who sculpts social spaces into unique communal environments where we make new rituals, excavate our pasts and imagine future narratives. Directing credits include Hir (Magic Theatre, 2014; Mixed Blood, 2015; Playwrights Horizons, 2015), A 24 Decade History of Popular Music… (New York Live Arts, et al., 2015), The Perils of Obedience (Abrons Arts Center, 2013–ongoing), and Neighbors (The Public Theater, 2010). His participatory performances have been produced by American Realness, Dartmouth College, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, and the Van Alen Institute, among others. He is the Artistic Director of The Flea Theater in lower Manhattan; Associate Artistic Director of Elastic City; and ringleader of Willing Participant – an artistic activist organization that whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens. www.niegelsmith.com.