Derek Lee Mc Phatter’s, Bring the Beat Back shown at the Jack Theater in Brooklyn, was a breakthrough performance. It went against some obvious controversial issues and confronted them with rhythm. The first reaction to the Jack itself was the simple, cool spot it had on its block in Brooklyn, completely in the shadows. Upon entering the building, I was surprised to see aluminum foil covering the walls and the actors decorated in bright and bold articles. The atmosphere was bright and all members were loud, lively and seemed to be loving what they were doing, thus creating an overall positive vibe.
The actors appeared to be split into three categories. There was a pannel of elders, who were more judgmental to the left, there were two narrators seated in the middle and the confused, aspiring children trying to prove themselves to the elders opposite them. There was an obvious differentation between the old ideas and the new obstacle breaking ideas. They approached the negative way older generations view the gay community. This stood out most to me because there was a “life coach” who’s goal of being hired was to basically scare the gay out of the main character. I felt this was a bit odd, however, the way the elders would highlight this aspect of the homosexual character and relating it to his incapability to perform to their expectations. The actors were very into the scenes and it showed specifically when they would act superbly and then, having no backstage, they stormed off to a banch just feet behind them to sit, but keeping their “in character” face and attitude expressions. The fact that they remained in character the whole performance, with eyes constantly on them , is commendable.
From what I understood, the acts that perform at the Jack, are groups just starting from the bottom. They are simple, regular people who had an idea, cultivated dialogue, actions, costumes that looked elated to have their start somewhere. The director that was at the door and his laughter and smile looking at the audience to see if they felt what he intended to provoke, felt so genuine. When the show was finished, the actors started dancing and invited people onto their stage to chat and let loose, just as the main idea of the performance was. To let the music go through you and really feel the beat. The success of this performance encourages me to go back and enjoy any other works of creativity that The Jack brings through their doors.