A Somali-Canadian rapper whose best-known song has racked up more than 50 million online-video views (so far) is in Edgartown this week to develop his first musical for the stage, commissioned by New York’s Public Theater.
Performing artists come to the Vineyard to refresh themselves creatively and develop new work, and Island audiences see exciting performances in return: new plays, musicals and even ice-skating dancers from Canada.
James Lapine is working. He looks as relaxed as any other summer resident, bicycling around Edgartown in shorts and T-shirt, but this is no vacation for the Pulitzer, Tony and Peabody award-winning dramatist, theatre director and filmmaker.
Logan Settle, 8, and Damian Hudson, 23, had a bet. If Damian won, Logan would have to fix him a hot dog with mustard. If Logan won, Damian had to bring Logan a Golden Oreo cookie.
The two stepped into a pair of sacks and hopped off on the lawn of 215 Upper Main street in Edgartown. Damian won, and was promptly challenged to a rematch. He agreed but first he needed to finish the hot dog.
B allerinas dance with their feet, balancing on pointe shoes with their limbs elongated to expose the intricate workings of muscles, or leaping across stage, leaving only a slight noise on the floor. But this week at the Vineyard Arts Project, they were dancing with their hands. Wrists became entangled, thumbs circled other digits, and knuckles discovered unexplored crevices.
The folks responsible for the musical Witness Uganda were seated in a circle of folding chairs in a large mirrored Vineyard Arts Project studio Tuesday afternoon, taking a needed break from their rehearsal schedule to talk about the origins of their project. Writer and director team Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews offered tales of their travels to Africa, shared stories of the Ugandan university students around whom the script is based, and introduced two of their star actors, Leslie Odom Jr. and Nicolette Robinson.