Dahlak Brathwaite: Spiritrials
Written and performed by Dahlak Brathwaite
Musical accompaniment by Dion Decibels
Directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Sean San José
Produced by The Living Word Project
Addiction, religion, and the law intersect in a timely and personal exploration of the criminal justice system. This multidimensional play takes its inspiration, as well as its name, from one of Dahlak’s most recent hip-hop albums, layering characters, poetic verse, and dialogue over the content of the songs to create a theatrical piece that blurs the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance. A timely exploration of the criminal justice system, Spiritrials chronicles the journey of Dahlak’s own criminalization along with his struggle to be vindicated and decriminalized in the eyes of the law and society. The piece works through the personal shame of criminal stigmatization to examine the factors – both internal and external – that have misplaced him in what appears to be a cultural rite of passage.