The words ‘Scrabble’ and ‘wordplay’ put together is set to take on a different meaning this month as an extended A Night On The Tiles by Pen-Ultimate Hip Hop embarks on its 2011 UK tour.
The production toured in 2009 previewing at The Albany last year (we missed it) featuring production by Montserrat Gili and dramaturgy from American hip hop theatre pioneer Will Power.
A Night on the Tiles tells the story of an absurd spoken word underworld where emcees are challenged in a high stakes Scrabble game featuring Devonshire cream teas and conmen. If you watched some of the extras on the South Coast DVD it looks like this will be similar – a very English hip hop show.
“Some of us in Pen-ultimate have come primarily from a hip hop background and some of us haven’t, but I’d say we’re all influenced by certain elements of hip hop and have at least experimented with them in our writing and performance,” they said.
“Our debut show, A Night On The Tiles, is not obviously a hip hop theatre show, but there are definite elements in there; such as the show opening with a 16-bar verse delivered as a monologue, human beatbox sound effects, a nod to b-boying in some of the movement, and an aesthetic of sampling and making pop-cultural references to gangster and kung-fu movies.”
Video: Pen-Ultimate: A Night On The Tiles trailer
“We all have our own unique relationship with hip hop, which can be seen more or less strongly in the way we write and perform as individuals and as a group, but having worked with hip hop theatre pioneers such as Will Power, Benji Reid, and Baba Israel, we have always been pushed to articulate that relationship in new and innovative ways.”
The current Pen-Ultimate line-up is Samira Arhin-Acquaah AKA Lucidity, Ali Gadema AKA Frisko Dan, Niven Ganner, Ben Mellor and Martin Stannage AKA Visceral.
Let’s play Scrabble!
Pen-Ultimate Hip Hop 2011 tour dates
The Broadway, Fri 4 March, 7.30pm
Tara Arts, Tues 8-12th March, 7.30pm
ARC, Tues 15 March, 7.30pm
The Core at Corby Cube, 24 March, 7pm and 25th Mar 2pm and 7pm
The Egg, 30 Mar 1.30pm and 7.30pm, and 31 March 1.30pm
SpArClife at SpArC, Bishops Castle, 2 April, 7.30pm