Friday, October 7, 2016

Review of Haven Theatre Company's How We Got On

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called How We Got On. It was by Idris Goodwin and it was directed by Jess McLeod. It was about three high schoolers--Hank (Tevion Lanier), Julian (Johnathan Nieves), and Luann (Ireon Roach) who really loved rap and they wanted to be famous rappers. They encounter some obstacles: cheap equipment, disinterested families, and how it is hard to become a really good and successful rapper. It is about loving what you do, the rap community, and how it is hard to learn to make the kind of music that you really want to make. I thought that this was a really great show and I really loved it. It was super fun, intriguing, and heartwarming. I felt like all the performers were really loving what they were doing.

Selector (Angela Alise) was basically the narrator of the story. She would select different songs that fitted the moment. And she also would praise the Akai MPC a lot, and also demonstrate it on the characters, by pressing a button which then they would replicate. I thought that was cool. The Akai MPC is basically a mixing tool; you could put samples from a bunch of different places together. In the play, the kids really want to win one so they can make more professional music. Selector would always be around and she played a bunch of different characters, like everyone's fathers and a pizza man. Basically the Selector keeps the story straight for you and gets in some very funny one-liners, and I really liked that. I feel like this entire show was really brought together by Selector; she is basically like a DJ and she makes all the moves for everyone. And I think she really adds a lot of warmth and humor to the show.

The water tower is basically a symbol of being able to express yourself. You feel safe when you are up there, but getting up there is very difficult and dangerous. The scene with Luann and Hank at the water tower was really sweet because it showed the level of their friendship that they could say so much to each other. I like that you can make mistakes up there and no one will ever know. I think that is why it is so beautiful even though you can't see an actual water tower. The later scene with Julian and Hank is not just about trying out rhymes; it is about getting out what you have always wanted to say. I think the water tower is a place where they feel safe to say things. And the way they feel safe saying things is rap.

I felt like all the performances were so great and sincere. They made you believe that they were really living in that world. I'm a big fan of Chance the Rapper, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Doom Tree, Anderson Pak, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. And I think these characters really embodied aspects of a lot of my favorite rappers. Luann was really powerful, clever, and passionate. And I feel like Hank was a really nice guy who would rap about kind of sweet things but he could still go rogue, like Chance the Rapper and Lin-Manuel Miranda do. Julian doesn't write his own things, but he is really good at performing. At first he is better at performing Hank's words than Hank is. It is really cool when they all perform together; you can see them bonding. I would have enjoyed that part of the show just as much even if it was just a concert! I also thought the beatboxing was really cool and I liked how they had decided that they had basically discovered beatboxing.

People who would like this show are people who like water towers, expressing yourself through rap, and the Akai MPC! I think that people should definitely definitely go see this show. It was super super fun and I really loved every single character.

Photos: Austin Oie

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