Three years ago, spoken word and dance artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph brought an interdisciplinary musing abut the complications of identity on “planet hip-hop” to the MCA stage. Now Joseph is back with a synthesis of music, dance, story and visual art, culled from community-based “eco-festivals” he held in four cities around the United States: Chicago, New York, Oakland and Houston. The focus this time is sustainability—of the natural environment, of communities (some consider these mutually dependent)—in the face of violent crime, poor education and the immediate crises facing communities of color. Joseph collaborated with Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates who created a modular set constructed from reclaimed materials. Four mobile rooms, each painted a different color, are first positioned as a small shotgun house, then break apart as the performance progresses and personal stories unfold. Audience members are invited on stage to explore the set, a choice typical of Joseph, whose work is characterized by intimacy, inclusion and a passionate humanity. (Sharon Hoyer)
At the MCA Stage, 220 East Chicago, (312)397-4010. Thursday-Sunday, April 12-14 at 7:30pm.