Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 2, 2011.

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IN THE CYPHER, a monthly powerhouse show where theater meets slam poetry in an edgy yet entertaining discourse about skin color.

Presenting, in association with The Drilling Company

the IN THE CYPHER Monthly Monday Series.

performed at the Drilling Company Theater with a new cast and new slamming poetry each month in 2011!  Please join us for our next show:

Monday, March 28th, 2011 @ 8pm

236 West 78th Street (b/t Bway and Columbus Ave.)

FREE/$7 Suggested Donation!  rsvp for tickets, inthecypher@gmail.com

The Show

Part Poetry Slam, Part Theater, In The Cypher brings us back to the roots of hip-hop where words and music, sound and fury, all work towards social change. In the lineage of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, we’re bringing the science and politics of skin color to the “sound of the funky drummer”. Four slam poets, an MC and a sassy waitress keep the audience jamming to poetic riffs on the diversity of the experience of living in one's own skin. The show dips back and forth, like a hip-hop montage, cutting from a variety of multi-theatrical expressions used to enlighten and enliven the discussion of skin color. The show includes audience judges, laugh-out-loud comedy, and spirited dissension. Come join us!

The History

In The Cypher was co-conceived in the winter of 2006 by Gamal Palmer and Sarita Covington. We were interested in skin color. This has always been a provoking subject, but even more so after I (Sarita) returned from a year abroad in Mexico. I began seeing internationally how people of darker skin occupy the lowest ranks in society, how the media didn’t seem to reflect the majority of its citizens in appearance, and how the true beauty and perfection of one’s own skin wasn’t recognized for what it was. Since skin color doesn’t have any bearing on intelligence, strength or anything else that would determine productivity and success, how did such an insignificant aspect of humanity become a significant factor in the fates of many?

We wanted to get people talking. We wanted to get people from a variety of backgrounds and colors in the same room together. We have done just that, and now we want to continue the work that we’ve begun. The show was performed for the first time under the direction of Patricia McGregor in 2007 at the Yale Cabaret, the student run theater for Yale School of Drama MFA candidates.

Two years later, In The Cypher would make its New York City premiere. Since then In The Cypher has performed in several venues around the city including the Lower East Side’s FAB Festival, the historic Nuyorican Poet’s Café and The Drilling Company, as well as expanding into educational workshops, teaming up with The People’s Theater for their Voices/Voces teen bilingual theater/writing program.

Our Mission

In The Cypher is performing one Monday a month at the Drilling Company Theater (236 West 78th Street) in 2011, for its Monthly Monday Series. Our show’s mission is to create vibrant, truthful art that dares to press the limits of theater, while inspiring an open dialogue about skin color issues and experiences. The show truly is an ensemble piece, where our ethnically diverse performers write poems and create dialogue within the context of rehearsal based on their own life experiences about skin. The unique process also includes found texts from current event sources, historical findings, and creating an experience from rehearsal to performance that opens up the way conversations and ideas can be exchanged between people of different backgrounds and worldviews. Our work has taken us in many interesting directions - from body image and politics, to racial identification.

Where The Funding Will Go

We have arranged, with the Drilling Company, a space for 7 shows in 2011. However, to keep the show accessible to as many people from as many different economic backgrounds as possible, the showings are always free. As a grassroots producing entity, we do not have the benefit of a large institutional theater, foundation funding, or corporate sponsors to put resources towards the show. This Kickstarter campaign will specifically be used to cover the cost of paying our brilliant actors and crew, a humble stipend for their generous work (which, with an average cast of 6 actors plus crew, over 7 shows, can definitely add up) and giving ourselves a slight nest egg to keep producing the show in bigger venues in New York. We are committed to employing more ethnically diverse, multi-talented theater professionals. So, we are relying on individuals like you to help insure that our art thrives and our artists are not silenced.

Sarita Covington (Co-Conceiver of In The Cypher)

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    A Chap Book of original poetry from the show, + Honorable Mention in next (and all future) performance program(s) at the Drilling Company, + Our Undying Gratitude

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    A Poem written especially for you and autographed by one of our professional poet/actors, + a Chap Book of original poetry from the show, + Honorable Mention in next (and all future) performance program(s) at the Drilling Company, + Our Undying Gratitude

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    A DVD of your personalized poem performed by the author, + a Poem written especially for you and autographed by one of our professional poet/actors, + a Chap Book of original poetry from the show, + Honorable Mention in next (and all future) performance program(s) at the Drilling Company, + Our Undying Gratitude

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    Co-Producer credit on all future performances at The Drilling Company, + a DVD of your personalized poem performed by the author, + a Poem written especially for you and autographed by one of our professional poet/actors, + a Chap Book of original poetry from the show, + Honorable Mention in next (and all future) performance program(s) at the Drilling Company, + Our Undying Gratitude

Funding period

- (52 days)