TRANCE (SYNOPSIS) by Edgar Nkosi White

Sunday July 18th 5-7 pmTribes Garden 285 East 3rd St, 2nd Fl


TRANCE is a performance arts piece created by God. It is an odyssey through the life and work of Langston Hughes as interpreted by myself (Edgar Nkosi White) through music and spoken word.

For all of Langston's life he was searching, first for his father and then for the Russian Black poet Alexander Pushkin even before he knew who Pushkin was. In Langston's beginning was the word. The sound of words would send him into trance and through that utterance he found a way to transcend the sadness of the world.

Langston was always a very private person. His pain he kept to himself. His laughter he gave to the world. He was always in exile even before he traveled.

Now there are many ways to kill an artist. Gun or knife or hanging by a tree, but one of the most effective ways is to make him famous and then place him on the prescribed reading list in some high school or college where generations of students can safely ignore him into irrelevancy. (The canon) This can be called death by anthology and many have gone this route after having fought so hard to acheive supposed fame. (Paul Laurence Dunbar is another classic example) Langston always said: "the cruellest thing that they did to Christ was not crucifixion. It was making Christ become Christmas."

He however has suffered a similar fate by becoming that plump amiable Negro who wrote Just Plain Simple.

The point of this performance piece is to show a very different Langston. The real and vital Langston who was a radical and brought unto the world stage so many Caribbean African and even Russian writers to the attention of publishers through his translation of their work into English. Poets like Garcia Lorca, Nicolas Guillen, and the Haitaian, Jacque Roumain). Langston who was a restless traveler from America to Russia, Cuba to Africa. He had a special love for Haiti and the Haitian revolution since his uncle was the first black ambassador to Haiti from the United States.

The work is called TRANCE because Langston said that the artist must either live in a constant state of trance or else risk waking and drown.

My job as an artist is to get closer and closer, and closer still, to my audience. To enter first their heads and then their hearts . And if necessary, to create a heart for those who never had one and then enter. For trance.