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In Performance

In Performance: Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure (Exponential Festival)

In Performance: Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure (Exponential Festival)

Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure
Ikechukwu Ufomadu
Exponential Festival, Vital Joint
January 12-13, 2018

Comic entertainer Ikechukwu Ufomadu breaks all the rules in his one-man lecture performance, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure. All the rules for giving effective presentations, that is. He moves through his presentation at a slow pace; he walks in front of the projector so that the presentation slides often end up projected on his body; and perhaps most egregious of all, he reads every single word that he’s put on his slides. Yet the show could not be a more thoroughly enjoyable leisure experience.

Ike establishes the leisurely pace from the very start, as he shuffles in and says hello to individual audience members he happens to see, with an openness that makes it easy to engage and connect. He also establishes his comedic prowess from the top–when someone shouted out that she liked the suit he was wearing, he went off on an extended, and very funny, tangent about how he got it at Zara. South of Houston Street. In what is called SoHo.

This punctuated mode of delivery makes it feel like Ike is existing at the crossroads of being zen and being high. The sense is echoed in his commendations for the technology he uses: his microphone, the venue’s two speakers, and, most of all, the magic behind his presentation: PowerPoint. He takes the audience through a hilariously detailed history of PowerPoint before turning PowerPoint’s prowess on the titular topic, leisure: the types of leisure, the timeline of leisure, and ways to leisure better.

Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure, which focuses on teaching about leisure, is itself an exceptional example of it. This success is all the more impressive considering the mode for delivery–PowerPoint–is rarely associated with it. The subversion of the technology feels almost radical, as does a whole night devoted to leisure itself. When do we actually get to experience leisure anymore? When do the events of the world truly leave our minds enough to allow for it? Politics did creep in to the performance in a moment of audience participation, but it still lived within the room Ike had established, which was full of warmth and respect and fun. And Ike, again demonstrating his masterful ability to respond to the audience, lifted the moment into an even deeper kind of wonderful, leisurely love.

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Rachel Karp is a theater artist whose work challenges language, legislation, and the status quo. She has developed and directed original work through Mabou Mines, Ars Nova, Incubator Arts Project, Actors Theatre of Louisville, IRT Theater, Women Center Stage, Dixon Place, Theater for the New City, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Rachel has also developed and directed new plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea Theater, Powerhouse Theater Festival, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, and Columbia University’s graduate and undergraduate schools. Rachel has associate and assistant directed productions by some of the top theater directors and ensembles working today including Les Waters, Lila Neugebauer, Young Jean Lee, Aaron Landsman, Mallory Catlett, Big Art Group, PearlDamour, The Mad Ones, and Woodshed Collective. Always wanting to be exposed to new work, Rachel has been a script reader for The Lark and the Bushwick Starr and has worked as a dramaturg at the Jewish Plays Project, a literary assistant at Second Stage, and a literary intern at Soho Rep. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, a former Resident Artist at Mabou Mines, a former Resident Director at The Flea, and a former Directing Intern at Actors Theatre of Louisville. BA, Columbia University; MFA, Carnegie Mellon University (expected 2019).

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