The end result is the hip-hop theater event “Liner Notes,” which had its premiere at the 2012 Intersections Festival and will be produced at the Dunes from April 25 to 28. “You see poetry, monologues, projection, music,” Hernandez said. She, along with the lead performers (Akua Allrich, Baye Harrell and Hernandez’s husband, Kris Funn), came up with a playlist for the show, researched those albums, and found “some really dope liner notes and structured the show around that,” Hernandez said.
“When you got a record back in the day, you actually read the liner notes while you listened to the record,” said Hernandez, who, like the rest of her band, grew up in the 1980s. “The artist could really transport you.”
During the show, with the backing of the Corner Store Jazz Quintet, “we read the actual liner notes: the words of Herbie Hancock, Parliament Funkadelic, Chaka Khan, James Brown,” she said, mixing the older tracks with modern hits such as Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis,” and then the performers “share personal moments in out lives when we realized we were in love with the music from the past.”
“We want elevated art for the hip-hop generation,” said Hernandez. “Hip-hop shows don’t have to dumb things down for the audience. They don’t have to be negative. They don’t have to focus on the commercial side of hip-hop. It can be a multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-genre experience. I like to look into the crowd and see the most diverse crowd, ever.”
April 25-28, the Dunes, 1402 Meridian Pl. NW, upstagedc.com, 202-436-9118.
Forum’s 2012-13 season
Forum Theatre’s upcoming season is taking on issues of biblical proportions: sex and death, flood and war, crime and chaos. And that’s just the first three plays.
The first, “Holly Down in Heaven,” opens in September. It’s a world premiere by Kara Lee Corthron and will be directed by Michael Dove. Holly is a teenage, born-again Christian who becomes pregnant and banishes herself to her basement, where she has only dolls to keep her company.
The Iraq war drama “9 Circles” follows in January. The plot concerns a soldier who is honorably discharged from service but who, after heading back home to Texas, wakes up in a jail cell and finds himself on trial for war crimes. The play is by Bill Cain (who wrote “Equivocation”) and will be directed by Jennifer L. Nelson.