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Frank X. Walker, the founder of the Affrilachian Poets group will perform this Friday at the “Black Bone: 25 years of Affrilachian Poets” event at OU’s Forum Theater in the RTV Building. Provided

Tantrum Theater is presenting its first annual Tantrum Theater Summer Festival over the next two weekends. A news release describes the week as “a theater-focused, multi-disciplinary event…, featuring world-renowned artists at venues located on the Ohio University campus.”

 Opening this Friday, the festival will feature “performances (to) capture your imagination, challenge you to think outside the known, and leave you seeing the world in an entirely new way,” the release said.

In its first weekend, Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, 8 p.m. on both nights at both venues, the festival will spotlight Bill Bowers in “Beyond Words” at the Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater in OU’s Kantner Hall and the Affrilachian Poets in “Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets” at the Forum Theater, RTV Building. 

“Beyond Words,” the release said, creates the scene “for a cherishable memoir filled with music, monologues and mime in this exploratory investigation of the silence surrounding gender in our culture today. Portraying the evolution from a boy to a man, Bowers draws his characters from real life and moves beyond simple anecdotes to create an inclusive montage that celebrates humanity.”

“Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets” represents and celebrates an enclave of writers of color in the Appalachian region. Founder Frank X Walker, who first coined the term “Affrilachia,” established the group in 1991 and has been active ever since to give way to an inclusive community, the release said. 

“Audiences will walk away from this reading with a more insightful understanding that Appalachia is not a homogenous area of unlettered, unwashed masses,” poet and playwright Bianca Spriggs said in the release. “So often unfairly depicted by mainstream media and culture, [our region] is vibrant and complex, encompassing urban areas as much as rural, and houses a kaleidoscope of voices that represent the entire stretch of the 13 states.”

To add to the significance of “Blackbone” with the Tantrum Theater Summer Festival hosting these poets, at 7 p.m. this Thursday (today), Aug. 15, the Athena Cinema will screen “Coal Black Voices,” a documentary that provides a glimpse into the history and work of the Affrilachian Poets, as well as a vivid depiction of life in the American Black South and Appalachian region. 

This Saturday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a community-centric writing workshop hosted by the Affrilachian Poets will be held in OU’s Baker Center (room location to be determined). This is open to the public and built for the community to connect and work with the poets themselves, the release said, sharing in their art with the aim of developing both voice and writing style. Information on this will be forthcoming. 

The following weekend, Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24 at 9 p.m., Berlin-based theater troupe Gob Squad will take the stage in the streets, onstage, and on-screen in its unpredictable mixed-media performance, “Super Night Shot,” in Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater, Kantner Hall.  

The news release describes “Super Night Shot” as a “unique multimedia performance event. The actual filming begins just one hour before audiences arrive at the theater. That is when Gob Squad has a night out on the town with cameras rolling constantly. During this time, four performers document what happens to them, and the movie showcases their journeys from each perspective. The streets become the film set. The local community becomes extras, actors and helpers. Things like cigarette butts and trash cans are the props, while the graffiti and public art throughout the town become the backdrop. This is the movie of a lifetime, unique and quintessential to the space in which it takes place.” 

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