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Will Power and Will Shakespeare
by Jerome Weeks 30 Jul 2012

Just in time for the Olympics’ opening ceremony, hip-hop playwright and SMU artist-in-residence Will Power has set Caliban’s words to a different rhythm.

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Given Second Thought Theatre’s recent production of the rap comedy, The Bomb-itty of Errors (the run ended last weekend) and given the use of some of Caliban’s lines from Shakespeare’s The Tempest in the Olympics opening ceremony (spoken by Kenneth Branagh in a stove-pipe hat), it’s timely that Will Power — the hip-hop playwright and performer returning this fall in residence at SMU — has come out with a hip-hop mashup of Caliban’s speech for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In fact, the RSC commissioned Power so the audio clip below would be released Friday to coincide with the opening of the London Olympics.

The use of rhythms and percussion here are more sophisticated than the old-school THUMP-thump-ba-dump-bump beats in Bomb-itty, but then, Power’s composer-collaborator was Justin Ellington, Duke’s nephew. Power explains the rhythmic and technical work in the video above.

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