Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Broke Wide Open by Rock Wilk at the SoulSWEET Sanctuary in the Bronx | by Ebony Brown

After seeing Rock Wilk perform at Urban Voices Heard Write Out Loud 2-Year Anniversary event held at El Fogon Center for the Arts in the Bronx, I was officially 'fiend-out' for a second serving of his verbal gumbo soup. Considering the place from which it was concocted, I knew that his words would get stuck in my teeth, making them harder to digest. Words like, "she, nine, repeated, acts, shame, and grown man" had certainly turned my stomach but not my head. To some extent, I knew what I was getting into when I decided to see Broke Wide Open, but I wasn't fully prepared for the story that unfolded.

Broke Wide Open is an utterly engaging, one-man show performed by Rock Wilk, one of New York City's most committed orators and prolific writers.  Independent of Purchase College  SUNY,  Broke Wide Open was recently held at the SoulSWEET Sanctuary in the Bronx; an unlikely tourist locale with a reach that extends beyond the arts and into the community –  providing support for young mothers and parents in need. Currently a traveling show, suggestive of the main character’s journey,  Broke Wide Open tactfully spews its ‘ejaculative’ ooze on the good-old, common wishful thinking associated with the better life a child is hoped to experience post adoption. From the perspective of the adopted, Broke Wide Open beautifully unveils the mind flogging pandemonium that crescendos with age as the main character, Rock Wilk searches for the woman whose womb he had been conceived but yet consoled.

Rock’s performance was comprised of the stuff that people often contain, mask or manage in order to evade the fear of judgment, rejection or self-fulfilling, prophetic abandonment. My senses were immediately courted by the wonderfully balanced entourage of literal and metaphoric allusions – euphemisms excluded. Whether on a set designed stage or a ‘hole in the wall', Rock’s life is both the venue and the play. Do yourself a favor and indulge!

Debuted in September 2010 at the Medicine Show Theater, Broke Wide Open continues to develop as Rock considers the feedback of his audience perfecting one of the most honest and powerfully delivered, one-man shows on the road.

Broke Wide Open is an example of the raw creative expression and cultural enrichment that exists off-campus, easily serving as a priceless addition to the college experience, especially for students in the performing arts conservatories at Purchase College or elsewhere. Students seriously pursuing their craft would not only have much to gain in witnessing a true performance artist in motion - they would also have the opportunity to give their feedback, pose their inquiries and learn from the question and answer session held at the end of the show.

Audience members at the SoulSWEET Sanctuary shared their own personal struggles and triumphs with adoption. In retrospect, I  remember thinking about how you never know of someone's burdens or blessings, especially those who we passively encounter until they express the least imagined. Both Rock and the audience attested to this.

In the unglorified and often underfunded arts spaces of the Bronx, there lie pockets of soul, truth and penetrating artistry to be experienced, appreciated and supported. Although Broke Wide Open isn't scheduled to take place at the SoulSWEET Sanctuary again, anytime soon, spoken word and open mic events are usually held every Saturday.The SoulSWEET Sanctuary is located only 35-45 minutes from Purchase College SUNY.

If you're looking to support an artist whose passion seems to proliferate from his life experience of being an adopted child who's on a quest to find his birth mother, then consider supporting Rock Wilk. Purchase tickets to his next show, or buy up his inventory of goods via his website! Rock is looking to bring his show to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Seattle, Denver and ultimately Paris!  If you or someone you know can help make this possible, visit Rock's site and reach out.

Broke Wide Open

Upcoming  Show:
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
BROKE WIDE OPEN "unplugged" @7:30pm
78th Street Theatre Lab
236 W 78th St
New York, NY 10024

Official Broke Wide Open Website:
Follow the Broke Wide Open unplugged tour
for more show dates and news!

SoulSWEET Sanctuary
835 Dawson Avenue
Bronx, NY 10459

For more information or to
donate to SoulSWEET Sanctuary
Contact: Zera Priestess at:

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