by Alexis Jais ’18
The Open Stage series recently began at the Everett Company Stage & School in Downtown Providence. The school will hold Open Stage shows on the first Friday of each month until June of 2018. The Everett school hosts classes and performances of many different kinds, with a goal of bringing the youth of Providence to a place where they can share their talents and passions in a supportive environment.
The theme for this months Open Stage on Friday, November 3 was hip-hop and included spoken word poetry, original raps and song performances, and choreographed dances. In a small room that houses around 150 people, the stage might be modest, but its performers on a Friday Night Live or Open Stage night are far from quiet.
A young boy named Jonah choreographed his own dance to a dubstep remix. A tall, shy performer named Michael performed an original song of his, called “Michael in the Bathroom” for the first time in front of an audience. Each time a performer felt shy or made a mistake, the whole crowd supported them with cheers and words of encouragement.
The Open Stage is for kids who are just getting out there, who want to build their performance skills and hopefully gain some confidence for future endeavors in the entertainment industry. Another performer named Nathan showed his character by delivering a refreshingly authentic standup piece, drawing on anecdotes and stories from his years as a high schooler, referencing the realization that freshmen really are as annoying as everyone warned. Acts like Nathan and Jonah’s revealed a sense of fresh innocence every performer hopes to retain as they grow and change.
For the night’s finale, spoken word poet Vatic took the stage to perform some of his award-winning pieces; this change of pace quieted the room completely. He began with what he called a survey on police officers, which ended up being a shocking commentary on police violence.
As he continued talking, singing, and communicating in a way that seemed less like poetry and more like a friend talking to a friend, he ever so often promised to begin the “poetry” soon.
After a heated piece on the lack of freedom within the black community, Vatic stormed out of the stage room and all stood with bated breath; some audience members left out of confusion while some waited in anticipation. As he calmly walked back into the building, it was understood that the tension in the room was too much for Vatic to bear.
Viewers who attend Open Stage will be met with a novel and exciting experience at each session, many audience members will surely come back for many more performances throughout the season.