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Serious Play - Smith College Fringe Fundraising Performance
Hallie Flanagan Studio Theater
Northampton, MA
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Serious Play - Smith College Fringe Fundraising Performance
Serious Play Theatre Ensemble presents the two shows going to the August 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival:

John Sheldons "The Red Guitar" directed by Sheryl Stoodley
A virtuoso guitarist, a red Stratocaster, a life in sound

In 2016, "The Red Guitar" struck the right chord in Scotland, earning a coveted 5-star
review with The Heralds highly respected music reviewer Rob Adams and has been
invited to return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. His candy apple red Fender
Stratocaster in hand, John takes us on a trip, careening through the rise of guitar music in
the nuclear age, from Folk through Blues and Rock, to a vision of the future in which the
past is vibrantly alive, a heartfelt yet unsentimental performance. Just when you think you
are seeing a deconstruction of popular music, you sense something else taking place, a
quickening, an awakening of senses long lost, a reclaiming of sounds you thought were
consigned to history. Something unexpected is being made right in front of you, a sound
loop sculpture plucking chords of your memory.

John, a master guitarist who played lead in Van Morrison's band at the age of 17, wrote
songs for James Taylor, unknowingly drew praise from Jimi Hendrix, and whom Ed Ward
of National Public Radio called "One of the great guitarists of our time," uses a unique
blend of storytelling, unearthly sounds, and wicked, layered guitar licks, to send us zipping
through the folds of time and space, emerging into the light of a simple, transformative
melody. John's ironclad belief in the power of sound pervades the whole performance, the
conviction that music is not just entertainment, but a soul saving enterprise, worthy of the
lifelong commitment he has made to it. His technical skill never overwhelms the story, the
poignant, the humorous, the moments of connection, of illumination. The journey
continues, setting a course to the center of who we truly are: vibration.

"I have collaborated with John on many Serious Play productions over the past 10 years. He does not use music, he is music. It is this rare sense of connection and assurance that drives his creative gift." -Artistic Director, Sheryl Stoodley

In the same evening, Serious Play also presents:
DO IT NOW: Manual Override
directed by Sheryl Stoodley
Three master artists collaborating with a mutual message for change

Danger!! Danger!! Systems are being corrupted or broken.  A crash surely lies ahead. No
time to waste. We must take back control! Do It Now. Manual Override. Pulling the
controls together are John Sheldon on electric guitar, Tony Vacca on all things percussion,
and Paul Richmonds beguiling William S. Burroughs-like spoken word. The trio takes on
anything from the mundane envy for a neighbors dog to nuclear power posturing to
interracial tension, turning them into poetic flashes of text that erupt from a hotbed of
music. Non-verbal communications on stage, based in trust and intuition between masters
at their craft, creates theatrical moments with authentic music interwoven with Richmonds
text. An evening of food for the mind as well as the soul.

The Trio includes:
John Sheldon - (Who you know from The Red Guitar)

Paul Richmond  Named as current Beat Poet Laureate of Massachusetts by the
National Beat Poetry Foundation, Paul is best described as political, deadpan and wryly
humorous with his own unique style. He has been called, Assassin of Apathy using the
power of words and humor to tackle the unthinkable and seemingly unsolvable, giving birth
to creativity and hope. Paul has performed on stages from the Austin International Poetry
Festival, in Austin TX, to Gödör Klubban at the Jazzköltexzetiest in Budapest, Hungary. He
is widely published in books, journals, anthologies, and poetry collections. His Human
Error Publishing promotes Word events and festivals and publishes books.

Tony Vacca -- An innovative percussionist with Jazz and World Music roots going back to
1972. Over the course of his career, he has made a habit of pushing the already
adventurous conventions of World Music into new territory, both as a soloist and as the
leader of his World Rhythms Ensemble. He is part of a wave of musicians whose work has
fueled the rediscovery of the power of the drum, and the power of music to build global
common ground. His twenty-one trips to West Africa have contributed to his unique
approach to playing the balafon, and to his depth of knowledge regarding African and
American musical traditions. He has recorded and/or performed with such a wide range of
musicians including pop icon Sting, Senegalese Afro-pop star Baaba Maal, Jazz trumpeter
and World Music legend Don Cherry, poet Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets,
Senegalese Hip-Hop stars Bideew Bou Bess, as well as Gokh-bi System, and Massamba
Diop, Senegalese master of the tama or talking drum.


Hallie Flanagan Studio Theater (View)
122 Green Street
Northampton, MA 01060
United States


Arts > Theatre
Music > Blues
Music > Rock

Minimum Age: 14
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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