Actor Keith Hamilton Cobb website

Monthly Archives: June 2014

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In Performance at Luna Stage Company

LunaStage AmMoor Poster

We needed a place to keep this thing on its feet without letting the summer go by; a place to keep the words in my mouth, the thoughts and ideas, so important to me, expressing through my body…  The good people of Luna Stage Company have offered me that opportunity.  Not only will this be a place to perform, an intimate ninety seat black box space, but, as a theatre that supports and develops new works, it will also afford me an opportunity to grow the piece, and to discuss it with an audience of smart, theatre-minded people, giving me the much needed reactions and feedback that will carry the work on to the next place.

Perhaps YOU can attend…  All info for the purchasing of tickets, directions, etc. are available HERE.

Please come be part of the discussion.  I’ll see you there.

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Township Children 2

South Africa Portrait, Plettenberg Bay, SA December 2001 Kodak Tri-X 400

South Africa Portrait, Plettenberg Bay, SA December 2001 Kodak Tri-X 400 

 

South Africa Portrait, Plettenberg Bay, SA December, 2001 Kodak Tri-X 400

South Africa Portrait, Plettenberg Bay, SA December, 2001 Kodak Tri-X 400

 

 

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“American Moor” in Performance: The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s Spring Rep, April, 2015

This Just In!

Anubis in The Jean Cocteau Repertory production of Jean Cocteau's The Infernal Machine.  Directed by Robert Hupp.  Costumes by Gregory Gale.

Anubis in The Jean Cocteau Repertory production of Jean Cocteau’s The Infernal Machine. Directed by Robert Hupp. Costumes by Gregory Gale. 

So what if it’s far enough away on the calendar to birth a baby?  It is one, really…  I’ve worked with the prolific and dedicated artists at The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble over many years.  In fact, their predecessor, The Jean Cocteau Repertory, was the theatre where I worked my very first professional theatre gig in New York, as Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead in Jean Cocteau’s “The Infernal Machine,” how many ages ago??!!  I mean look at that guy above!  What was he, twelve?!!

Then, only just three or four winters ago, I was on stage with several of these same astonishing actors again at a beautiful black box space on the lower West Side called The Wild Project in their production of Tom Stoppard’s “Hapgood.”

With Craig Smith, co-artistic director of The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, performing in The Phoenix production of Tom Stoppard's "Hapgood," directed by John Giampietro.

With Craig Smith, co-artistic director of The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, performing in The Phoenix production of Tom Stoppard’s “Hapgood,” directed by John Giampietro.

They are thespians of integrity and intelligence, and intention, and vision who have known me throughout my entire professional career.  They were there when it began. And so I am excited for their announcement today of their 2014-15 rep season, and honored that they have taken an interest in this new work of mine.  So, April of 2015 will be “American Moor’s” New York City debut!  It could not happen amongst a more nurturing company of artists.  You’ll see, if you check out the links, that it’s a short run, (we will be running April 21-25, 2015 and May 5-10, 2015) and The Wild Project, while it could not be more perfect for this piece of theatre, is a small space.  So I encourage everyone to put us on their calendar, and reserve their seats early!!  You can save money on tickets if you order early.  If you’re local to New York, you may want to buy a package so that you can experience all of the remarkable work that The Phoenix Theatre’s coming season has to offer you.  Have a look here for ticket packages and discounts.

For single tickets, you can still purchase in advance at the online box office here.

The season calendar can be found here.

I’m really extremely proud to be a point of focus in the life of this theatre company.  And I’m proud of this evolving, and I think rather important work.

Please follow the updates, and join us next spring.

AmMoor Wild Project

“American Moor” is written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, and is being directed by Paul Kwame Johnson.

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Abundance

The idea of all being perpetually well is another tricky one.  It is a particularly fuzzy point for those of us to whom it tends to only become clear when we are contented, sated, unafraid, and other adjectives that connote fair weather.

In my pursuit of my life’s goals, (And where do they come from, by the way?  Do we choose to aspire to one thing or another?  No.  They are in us, like DN-fucking-A.) I have searched for, and attempted to manifest resources to sustain my endeavors.  Sometimes they have been there, and other times they have not.  In neither case, however, have I ever starved, or been homeless.  I have not subsisted for any length of time in destitution, though a sojourn on skid row might have helped since this is where some of the more obvious consciousness pimps say they first heard God speak to them.  Oh, the drama!  Jackleg preachers do this too.  Me, I’ve always been alright; frustrated, yearning, angry, lonely, but alright.  So have I always walked in abundance?  Maybe.

I have always found something perverse in the idea or the act of petitioning The Universe for something specific, like say a million dollars, or, in the case of Religious Science, Earnest Holmes, Thomas Troward and the like, believing, as they espouse, that I already have it, when I most clearly never have.  How much easier for me to believe that there was service to the greater good (And who knows what service really?) but service: a fulfillment of some unrevealed spiritual agenda in the acting out of my various endeavors, and it was exactly that which sustained me.   I didn’t say “made me rich,” or even, “made me happy.”  But I have somehow been sustained.

Along with understanding “abundance,” it behooves me to adopt similar perspectives on another human invention, “justice.”  In fair weather mysticism, the relativity of right and wrong, and in fact, the negation of them as absolutes, is taken as a given (well… taken as a given on days when I’m not feeling wronged, or feeling that I am right about something).  But the dialectic that leads us by a circuitous route to that truth and others gives me a headache on any day.  I’m a fair weather mystic.  I tend to avoid pain if at all possible.  The human condition makes us each a little factory producing steaming piles of rationale to serve our human ends, or perceived ends.  Very seldom are those ends, in the final analysis, anything surpassing staying alive and comfortable.  On the level of Spirit, there is no concept, and so no vocabulary for “comfort,” or for that matter, “alive.”  It is simply a function of our physical over our spiritual awareness that measures both abundance AND justice relative to ourselves.  I am well.  It is my job to know that.  As a fair weather mystic, however, I feel no compunction to admit that I know it.  It is more satisfying to whine regardless of my awareness.

I sit at the feet of a Master that doesn’t speak my language, or any.  Nor has It any cognition of my subjective, earthly experience.  It respects only consciousness, which means It respects Itself.  I, being of It, or that part of me that is at all truly conscious, or Spirit, It respects as well, and that part of me respects It.  Why else would I sit here?  However, the other part of me, that which thrives only in the fair weather; thrives on food that feeds not only the body, but the ego, remains restless and looking to intellectualize a plan of action.  The “I AM” wanders out seeking other theories to refute; for other fair weather mystics to show their asses.  It wanders out knowing that it is not looking for enlightenment, or even truth.  It is looking for itself, which is all that it can recognize.

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Hudson Guild

Transp 1

Fujichrome Provia 400
Hollywood, CA

 

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I Didn’t Sign On For This

This “Oneness with God” idea is tricky even in the simplest of terms.  Like sitting at The Master’s feet, one can’t really not do it.  And yet what it generally comes down to is a measure of the magnitude of mishegas that stands in the way of an awareness that one is, in fact, doing it.  And it is surely that measure of magnitude which regulates how much one is actually capable of taking away from the perpetual encounter that will induce, even by fits and starts, anything akin to enlightenment.  Many, I dare say most, of the junior partners, if they care to put things in the language of the common man, employing the vocabulary of the body-bound, will tell you that that very lack of awareness is, in fact, madness; that we are all stone crazy in our dis-ease, while everything is, in actuality, simply perfect, or at least (“perfect” being a human invention to name a human perception) as it should be.  As a mystic I can buy this.  As a fair weather mystic, I’d like to send the monk back to his mountaintop with my sneaker firmly lodged in his butt crack and search on alone.  And that very desire, of course, confirms my continued practice in aloneness and separation from God, Source, Spirit, in essence, my anti-oneness while at the same time seeking to be one with.  Boy, am I fucked up! Read More →

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Fulcrum

Splitting Logs 2

Shit, I’m older now.
Elbows ache and knees more.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” they say.
But I can still drop that twelve pound mall
On the flat of a fat maple log,
Snort hard and send the severed halves flying in submission.  Bang!!  Fuckin’ay
badass, hardass machine for breakin’ shit,
That’s gotta be what, from the soles of my feet planted,
Swinging through the back, through the shoulders, through the length of my arms,
Through the length of that steel handle, what,
Maybe eight, maybe
Nine hundred foot-pounds at the point of contact at least?  I don’t know the math.
My daddy, he’s slow.
Crooked and squat,
His body ain’t no fulcrum
For an axe that heavy swinging any more.
For him, twelve pounds overhead can’t be more than, what,
A hundred or so pounds at the target?  Maybe two.  I don’t know the math.
I know that dense, wet wood isn’t so scared of him like it used to be when I was small.
He doesn’t seem to mind.  Maybe he does.
I do.  But he doesn’t say much.
But he’ll whack away at it,
Shuffling and crouching,
Lifting with a grunt to set it right when he’s half missed it, and knocked it
Tumbling off the stump.
Heaving that hammer and dropping it
‘Till that log surrenders, and the halves drop off to either side
like executed soldiers, mostly bludgeoned to death….
Lives can weaken if we don’t nourish them,
So as there’s less for a Spirit to swing from.
That’s not his problem.
Me, I’ll blast through that whole pile of logs and stack it in an hour
So he doesn’t have to, and
So I’ve got something to show.

© Keith Hamilton Cobb
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Obvious

We could say a lot when we weren’t busy talking.
We could watch the truth of us like television if we wanted
To trust that much.  It’s precious few
Who will undertake to keep safe another’s
Unspoken heart.
Most might commit to being nominally responsible for some portion
Of its contents
Declared and described clearly in the language of wants,
Even while knowing that store of goods, truly assessed,
Defies description.
They can sort of sign on for something that is
Sort of defined,
In denial or
Ignoring that,
Being alive,
It’s changeable.  And if it doesn’t work out,
No harm, no foul.  Though it can be noisy and messy.
But a few,
Who trust in their own unspoken voice,
Knowing those meant to hear it will, can be
Somewhat more still, and
Can hear a lover’s heart speaking itself hoarse;
Telling its everything.
For them, there is no worry.  Only the obvious.  And
It has no words either.

©Keith Hamilton Cobb
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A Child’s Wisdom

When we are young, we have no sense of our own wisdom.  We view anyone we perceive as showing the slightest wisdom to be more enlightened than ourselves, and we are impressed.  And we adopt their wisdom… well… we attempt to emulate it, not at all discerning that their wisdom is just an ignorance that doesn’t look particularly like our own.

As we age, and as, unwittingly, the wisdom we were born with dissipates and disappears in the inundation of fabricated data that the culture smothers us in which we collect calling it education, we begin to perceive ourselves to be wise.  Suddenly, those whose ignorances don’t look particularly like our own appear to us as ignorant.  Neither we, nor they are able to recognize that we both remain children, and wise beneath the piles of detritus that growing and interacting in a culture without aware and un-agenda’d elders has required us to operate through.

Jeff's NYC Subway

Photo by Jeff Evans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are childish, not child-like.  We have forgotten what it is to be child-like.  We will be more wise, when we can become child-like; lose the sense of our own wisdom once again.

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