Fast rhymes with Mayhem Poets

Jersey slam poets grace The Children's Theatre Company with a month of social education and salmonella jokes.

The trio of spoken word poets exercises their acting chops in skits about chickens, poverty and magical pens.
PHOTO COURTESY MINNEAPOLIS CHILDREN'S THEATRE

The trio of spoken word poets exercises their acting chops in skits about chickens, poverty and magical pens. PHOTO COURTESY MINNEAPOLIS CHILDREN'S THEATRE

John Sand

âÄúMayhem PoetsâÄù WHEN: Oct. 13 – Nov. 1 WHERE: ChildrenâÄôs Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis TICKETS: Prices vary From race and gender stereotypes to salmonella poisoning and magical pens, there is absolutely nothing the Mayhem Poets wonâÄôt cover. Because of their mix of clever humor and social importance, the East Coast bards have been chosen by the teen council of the ChildrenâÄôs Theatre to hold a monthlong tenure. The group is composed of Kyle âÄúBlack SkeptikâÄù Sutton, Scott Raven and Mason Granger, three recent grads from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Minneapolis is by no means the first city to house the Mayhem PoetsâÄô performance. The laureates, who have been honored by The New York Times , have toured the country, competing in slam contests and working in New York acting companies. It might be the trioâÄôs undeniable chemistry or the hip-hop violin accompaniment provided by Josh Henderson that makes the show a fast-paced flurry of cultural dialogue. âÄúEach of us are media fiends,âÄù said Raven. âÄúWe love cartoons, and Bill Maher is on our iPods. We like to see all of this [media] and connect the world to our psyche.âÄù These days, itâÄôs very rare for something other than Pixar films to have the capacity to entertain people of all ages. But in this case, The Mayhem PoetsâÄô rhythm and often over-the-top performances will entertain the children, while pop culture nuggets like Baywatch references and high-fructose corn syrup jokes will keep older crowds laughing. Black Skeptik, the dreadlocked, cargo-pants-wearing member of Mayhem Poets, said of their influences, âÄúWe draw from mid-âÄô90s hip-hop. We deal with some of [hip-hopâÄôs] issues of classism and racism.âÄù ItâÄôs clear the poetry has been adapted for children, boiled down to a friendly version of the world where only idiots are bigots and lame-asses refuse to follow their dreams. Nevertheless, the show sneaks in satisfaction for students whose nostalgia was cultivated in the âÄô90s, with impressions of Nick LacheyâÄôs former 98 Degrees and cartoons from childhood. âÄúWe think everyone should have the opportunity to experience this,âÄù said Black Skeptik, âÄúand let it hit them where they are now.âÄù