COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

The Living Word Project: Word Becomes Flesh

Friday–Saturday, September 20–21, 2013
8:00 pm each evening, Wright Memorial Theatre

The Living Word Project: Word Becomes Flesh

Spoken-word poet and playwright Marc Bamuthi Joseph brings his personal history to life in Word Becomes Flesh, a groundbreaking hip-hop theatre event. Using poetry, dance, and live music, the “choreopoem” performance documents nine months of pregnancy from a young, single father’s perspective. Bamuthi’s landmark work has been recreated for a cast of five performers and a live DJ. The work deconstructs black male identity in the 21st century with deep honesty and raw physicality. Hailed by the Washington Post as “a searing, satisfying evening.” For mature audiences. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, Theatre Program, Office of the Dean of the College, Mahaney Center for the ArtsCenter for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Residency activities are possible thanks to support from the Rothrock Residency Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts. 

Tickets: $20/15/6. Visit the Box Office for details>>

Read the press release >>


Residency Activities

September 16, Monday

Hip-hop Music and Movement Workshop

4:30-6:00 PM; Proctor Basement

Participants get physical while deconstructing the celebrated beginnings of hip-hop as it related to culture, survival, creativity, and lyrical penmanship. Limited space available to Middlebury College students. Contact Jennifer Herrera to pre-register: or 802.443.5743

September 17, Tuesday

Residency Activity with the Addison County Parent-Child Center

12:00-1:30 PM; Addison County Parent/Child Center
(invited guests only) 

Spoken Word, Spoken True

4:30-6:00 PM; MCA Room 221

Participants are lead through creative writing exercises to develop their own spoken word artistry and style. Limited space available to Middlebury College students, plus interested community members, space permitting. Contact Jennifer Herrera to pre-register: or 802.443.5743

 September 18, Wednesday

Theatre Master Class

12:15-1:45 PM; MCA Room 232

This workshop/master class is only open to students in Prof. Claudio Medeiros' Creative Process class.

 September 19, Thursday

Movement Master Class

9:30-10:45 AM; MCA Room 110

In this master class with Prof. Christal Brown's Dance 260 class, participants will develop the language and artistry needed to create an original movement together. Visitors welcome, and theatre students strongly encouraged to participate. Free. To register, contact

Verbal Onslaught

9:00-11:00 PM; 51 Main (51 Main St.)

Verbal Onslaught is Middlebury’s own spoken word open mic night. Shy and outspoken poets, good listeners, loud hand-clappers and finger-snappers, writers, and artists are more than welcome. Free admission; Food and drink available for purchase at the venue.


Program Information

Run time: 60 minutes, plus 15 minute intro, and post-show discussion

Written and Directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Written and Performed by Dahlak Brathwaite, Daveed Diggs, Dion Decibels, Kahlil Anthony, Michael Turner and B.Yung.

Word Becomes Flesh originally premiered in November 2003 at the Alice Arts Center (Oakland, CA) and subsequently toured through 2007 to venues including Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME); ODC Theater and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA); On the Boards (Seattle, WA); New World Theater (Amherst, MA); Dance Theater Workshop (New York, NY); Live Arts Festival (Philadelphia, PA); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago, IL); University Musical Society (Ann Arbor, MI); Miami Dade College (Miami, FL); and Dance Place (Washington, DC). 


Artist Biographies


Marc Bamuthi Joseph is one of America's vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. In the Fall of 2007, Bamuthi graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of America's Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the 7-part HBO documentary "Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices" and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship (2006), which annually recognizes 50 of the country's "greatest living artists". He is the 2011 Alpert Award winner in Theater and in April 2012, he was one of 21 artists to be named to the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists. Joseph was recently nominated for a 2013 New York Dance & Performance (Bessie) Award in the category of Outstanding Production (of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form) for red, black & Green: a blues. He currently serves as Director of Performing Arts at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

After appearing on Broadway as a young actor, Joseph has developed several poetically based works for the stage that have toured across the U.S., Europe, and Africa. These include Word Becomes Flesh, Scourge, and the break/s, which co-premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays and the Walker Arts Center in the Spring of 2008. Joseph's Word Becomes Flesh was re-mounted in December 2010 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts' "American Masterpieces" series, and will tour throughout North America and Hawaii through 2013. In addition, he wrote the commissioned libretto, Home in 7 for the Atlanta Ballet in 2011, and is directing Dennis Kim's Tree City Legends at Intersection for the Arts in 2012.

A gifted and nationally acclaimed educator and essayist, he has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities, been a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Lehigh University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. As the Artistic Director of Youth Speaks he mentored 13-19 year old writers and curated the Living Word Festival and Left Coast Leaning. He is the co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. His proudest work is with his family, raising his two children and spoiling two dogs with his incredible wife in Oakland, California.


Dahlak Brathwaite is a multi-faceted hip-hop artist who draws upon his abilities as a musician, actor, and poet to create a dynamic, spellbinding performance. Since launching into the national spoken word scene by winning the Brave New Voices international Poetry Slam, he has performed on the Tavis Smiley Radio show and the past two seasons of Russell Simmons' presents Def Poetry Jam. This is the second time Brathwaite has worked with Marc Bamuthi Joseph, writing and performing in Scourge - a play that the Boston Globe hailed as "explosive".  As a member of the group iLL-Literacy, Dahlak has showcased his seamless blend of hip-hop, theater, and spoken word throughout the U.S. and overseas. Brathwaite is originally from Sacramento, California and is now based in Brooklyn, New York.


Daveed Diggs is an actor, educator, composer, rap and spoken word artist who graduated with a degree in Theater Arts from Brown University in 2004. He has many California and Western regional credits including Pacific Rep Theater's Troilus and Cressida (Troilus) and A Comedy of Errors (Duke), The SF Playhouse Six Degrees of Separation (Paul) and Jesus Hopped the A Train (Angel). Diggs also teaches Rap and Spoken word classes at James Lick Middle School and at the Marsh Youth Theater and gives workshops throughout the Bay Area, New York City, and New Jersey. He has been a teacher in residence with the Arts Literacy Program in Providence, Rhode Island and a teaching artist for Youth Speaks. As a writer, Diggs has written several plays in verse including: Sweeter Than, a play based on the writings of Harlem Renaissance poet Jean Toomer, which was produced by Rites and Reasons Theatre in Rhode Island; and Big Shoes, a solo performance piece. He is also a co-writer and performer The Living Word Project's The One Drop Rule directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph. In the New York area you can see Diggs perform as a new member of the improvisational theater/rap event Freestyle Love Supreme. Catch him in San Francisco with the music/super-hero squadron The Freeze.


Dion Decibels is a Bay Area DJ/ turntablist, sound engineer, producer, teacher and  music lover. Dion Decibels is the son of a drummer and a dancer, so it is only natural for him to make and play music for people to enjoy and move to.  With over nine years of DJing and 25 years of musical experience, music is his life's dedication and he is here to bring you the funk.



Khalil Anthony (Performer) is an Artist-Educator, working within a variety of media. His work investigates relationships between the spirit and space, the black body, sexuality, society, and the urban experience. Weaving together these artistic intentions through dance and movement, writing, painting, education, and song, his work speaks to diverse audiences and communities. Originally from Chicago, Illinois and currently living in New York City, he has taught and performed in the UK, Amsterdam, Paris, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, and throughout the continental US. His work stems from a belief and commitment in the knowledge that all human beings, and especially young people, have a voice. After being published at the young age of 7, Anthony's work has appeared in various literary magazines and educational journals. As an Emmy winning singer-songwriter, his critically acclaimed album, Urbanfolksunshine, has been featured in five films, with international radio play in Venezuela, Brazil, and the UK. In 2009, Anthony traveled to England, and began ‘The Visible Man Project', which works to strengthen relationships between queer/gay artists of color from the US and the UK. His most recent project, Frederic Leon, is a novel based on events in his own life when, as a teacher, he was arrested for defending his students against police brutality. Currently, Anthony is completing his second studio album, Per Se. Khalil Anthony continues to bring life to his living by creating, being, and sharing the gift of art honestly, poignantly, and without regrets.


Michael Wayne Turner III, better known as MyKeyRoc, is a poet, musician, actor, model, and classically trained dancer. Originally from Houston, Texas, MyKeyRoc has lived in New York and Los Angeles, and currently resides in the Bay Area. In 2009, he was a finalist in the Youth Speaks Bay Area Teen Poetry Slam and went on to represent the Bay Area at the Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam Festival in Chicago, IL. His most recent works includes a music and spoken word mixtape with phresh pham. With his poetry he has toured extensively to universities including USC, UCLA, Stanford, TSU, WKU, UK, MTSU; performance venues including San Francisco Opera House, The Chicago Theater, Art Institute of Chicago, Herbst Theater, Stanford University; and hundreds of coffee shops, museums and street corners across the country.


B. Yung has recently become a familiar face in the American Spoken word community. After performing in LA's Def Poetry Allstar show by Stan Lathan in 2006, he began a very successful career at his new found craft. In 2008, B. Yung was featured in the Russell Simmons HBO documentary Brave New Voices, ranking second in the Nation with NYC's Youth SlamTeam at the Brave New Voices National Competition. He also won first place in the Robert Redford Speak Green Competition held at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C which earned him a chance to perform at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  In 2009, B. Yung joined the Legendary Us3 Band and began traveling Europe on the "Stop, Think, Run" tour and his song "Love of my life" (produced by Geoff Wilkinson) premiered on MTV and VH1 Soul. In 2010 he ranked seventh in the Village Voice Rap Reviews, was featured in the Sprite Dunk Contest commercial and also Reggie Bythwood's "One Night in Vegas" documentary about Tupac Shakur and Mike Tyson (ESPN), created an LP "Eye of the Prince," and performed in China, Russia, England and Japan. 


Press Quotes

"Many choreographers attempt to tackle social issues; few interweave their own stories in away that makes sense. Word Becomes Flesh ... makes for a searing, satisfying evening" --The Washington Post, July 2011

"The roster of fiercely independent solo artists converges into a cohesive whole that is much greater than just the sum of its parts. (T)he central premise of strengthening families and communities provides a rallying point for audience members of all stripes." --DC Theatre Scene 

"This is the kind of event that can act as epiphany, as a life-changing event: not only for what it says, but how it says it." --Cedar Rapids Gazette

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax