New York


The Kitchen

Occasionally a collaboration turns out so well that one can only marvel at the sum of its parts. Curator Carl Hancock Rux’s invitation to stage director Jaye Austin Williams to realize an evening celebrating the poet Sapphire’s most recent collection, Black Wings & Blind Angels (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), was an act of prescient imagination, given that Austin Williams, in turn, appointed musician-composer Kwame Brandt Pierce, lighting designer Chris Weston, and stage manager Passion. Together they created a poetry reading of startling elegance—not words one usually associates with the form.

Three actors—Keith Adkins, Arthur French, and Connie Winston—moved with the articulation of dancers, their bodies shaping images in the air while their voices propelled Sapphire’s stream of words across the space. That they held pages of text in their hands as they performed had a magical effect on the

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