Nationally acclaimed Director, Joel King combats Poverty & Violence through ‘Real Life.’
by Abesi Manyando
‘Real Life,’ the transformational musical about inner-city life, politics and faith mirrors our nation’s urban crisis.
For the last two years, Director Joel P.E King has been on an emotional quest to fix the problems that plague the inner cities across America. As a child growing up in East St. Louis, King witnessed the hardships that propelled him to write and produce the transformational stage play that is receiving national critical acclaim. “The struggles that I and many people endured living in a challenging environment fueled my creativity to write ‘Real Life.’ This play allows me to creatively expose the problems that give birth to poverty and crime.” said King.
The provocative coming of age play centers around a young urban youth named Ray who is conflicted between street life and his faith. King defies the glamorization of crime by forcing us to identify with the consequences and repercussions of street life through Ray’s struggles. The compelling musical opens up with a riveting dream sequence showing how Ray’s inability to do right has finally caught up with him. Once an A student with the potential to become a star college basketball player, Ray allowed his life to become defined by his inability to win a crucial game that could have potentially changed the dynamics of his life. He perceives the missed opportunity as having been his only escape out of the ghetto. Ray’s struggle resembles that of many young men in the inner cities of America trying to escape their environment. Ray’s abandonment of ambitions and an adopted mentality of failure exposes the paradigm of urban America, and its ability to stifle growth and self development.
King presents this story utilizing dynamic local actors, engaging dialogue, poignant music, and comedic conversations that lift up the heaviness of the subject at hand. Ultimately, “Real Life” is the wakeup call that America needs to realize that we are all affected by poverty and violence. King hopes that his play will be the artistic engine needed to motivate communities to abolish crime and derail the apathetic attitude that has become too common in our cities. King is attempting to fight violence through creativity, comedy and reality. Real Life is inspired by truthful situations. King’s passion for progression is expressed through talented actors, dancers, and singers. “Real Life” will be at the Grandel Theater on November 29th through December 2nd, 2012. Please visit www.jpek-thearts.com for detailed information.