Playing the Game: /peh-LO-tah/

All I knew about the performance was that there would be soccer, a story, some movement, and music. I was sold at “soccer” because I have a soft spot for the sport. I lived in France when Pele was king. I fell in love with Bend it like Beckham. Soccer is one small part of the story and I knew that the work would also include an immigrant story. It did all of that and still  /pehLOtah/ was so much more than I expected. I left with many mixed emotions about everything except the performance. I loved the performance even though it brought out tears, anger, frustration, anxiety about the world around me. It was balanced with just enough laughter and joy to make it the experience invigorating. I was provided with tickets for review and as always opinions are all my own.

Photo Credit: Bethanie Hines

 /pehLOtah/  admittedly starts off a little slow. I could do without the first few minutes, but they tie in with the end bringing the performance to a well rounded close. Once the intro fades, you find the heart and soul of this work. It is poetry slam meets musical meets modern dance performance meets gospel, a capella, and stepping meets thoughtful internet meme.

  • If you love soccer see the show.
  • If you know #blacklivesmatter see the show.
  • If you are black see the show.
  • If you are not see the show.

I am not black in America. I’m not even American in America so I can’t share many of the experiences that Marc Bamuthi Joseph speaks of. Our ages are similar and our experiences are vastly different, but his music had me moving in my seat, his words had me snapping, clapping, mmmmhmm’ing, and tearing up. I hear what Marc Bamuthi Joseph is saying and hearing the voices of those who too often are silenced. segregated, hidden or overshadowed is a refreshing starting point.

Photo Credit: Bethanie Hines

Bring your soccer team, bring your black student union, bring your family, bring your friends. The /pehLOtah/ crew have brought something really special to Boston. They are only here until May 5th. See it. You will not regret it.

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