- Faith & Family
Miami native Rai Renae has been writing poetry since she was just five-years-old and says she’s always known that she wanted to be an entertainer. So she became a member of Northwestern Senior High’s highly-regarded performing arts program [PAVAC] to develop her stage persona while sharpening her writing skills thru coursework in journalism. She went on to star in plays at the Coconut Grove Playhouse and has dabbled in music as well.
All of her preparation appears to have paid off as she prepares for her one-woman play, “Sticks and Stones,” set to open on Friday, Nov. 2nd at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center [6161 NW 22nd Ave.].
“This is my debut and I’m very excited because this is something that I have always wanted to do,” she said. “The show is based on my work of poetry and kind of conveys the insanity of my mind. My poem, “Sticks and Stones” illustrates the kinds of cliches we adopt in order to teach our children that can sometimes be more damaging than they are good. We pass those cliches along from one generation to another. For me, there was a time in my life when I would have rather someone just hit me. I could have dealt with the bruises but name calling hurts emotionally. And it’s harder to overcome.”
More than just a poet
Rai describes herself as an entertainer, saying that ‘spoken word artist’ doesn’t fully capture what she does on stage.
“I have a full band, backup singers and dancers with me on stage so what folks get is a whole lot different that someone dropping lines,” she said. “I am also writing plays and shopping a television program around too. I just turned 40 and I have to admit that Oprah Winfrey was right — this is the most fabulous time of my life. I am so ready to embrace my talents and to determine the direction in which my art will proceed. This is truly my time.”
Rai’s show has already been set to tour next year in Washington, D.C., Savannah, GA and Toronto, Canada from February through April. And she’s hoping there will be more stops along the way.
“Sticks and Stones: Fairy Tales and Other Lies as Told to a Child,” is directed by Albrika Sesheta Gordon. The play uses a combination of poetry, monologue and dance to explore the social consequences of common phrases parents tell their children.
For more information go to www.nevergrowupmedia.com. The show continues through Sunday, Nov. 4th.
By D. Kevin McNeir