Teens filled the theater, listened intently and applauded wildly at the October 16 opening night for the Mayhem Poets at the Children’s Theatre Company. As students, Kyle Sutton and Scott Raven started an “open mic” forum for spoken word at Rutgers University in 2000, which eventually became the Mayhem Poets. Later Mason Grange, also a spoken word artist, joined the show.
Without props or sets, the three gifted performers blended rapid-fire poetry into theatrical performances. Among the offerings were autobiographies, absurd chicken comedy, magic pen, gossip, Dr. Seuss, and misuse of technology. Some skits offered lessons, such as encouragement to write, technology is a tool only, and being role models of talent and respect. On stage with the poets was Josh Henderson, a versatile violinist. The classical/jazz violinist was a great counter to the hip-hop rhythms of the spoken word.
In 2006, the Mayhem Poets’ unique approach to spoken word led them to first place in the Microsoft Idea Win Challenge and a $100,000 grant. They have toured through Canada and Ireland. Their next stop will be Helena, Montana.
The Mayhem Poets are performing here until November 7. For tickets and schedule call (612) 874-0400 or www.childrenstheatre.org
In December the Children’s Theatre’s Teen Director Lab will present Gimme Shelter, a production about youth’s struggle for acceptance; Razia’s Shadow, a new musical about a couple whose love and hope reunites the world; and Incentive for Christmas, a tale of a couple torn apart by their yearnings for fame, children and the Iraq War.