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Arts This Week: 'Hype Man,' 'Hear Word,' and Robert Baines

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Michael Knowlton, Rachel Cognata, and Kadahj Bennett make up the cast of "Hype Man: A Break Beat Play"
Suhayl Photography, courtesy of Company One Theatre
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180201_jared_arts_debrief.mp3

This week, Jared speaks with goldsmith and jeweler Robert Baines about his free exhibition at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Plus, reviews of new plays at Company One Theatre and the American Repertory Theater.

"Hype Man: A Break Beat Play," presented by Company One Theatre through February 24

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Kadahj Bennett stars as "Verb" in Idris Goodwin's "Hype Man: A Break Beat Play"
Suhayl Photography, courtesy of Company One Theatre

Break beat poet and playwright Idris Goodwin reunites with director Shawn LaCount to bring his latest work to Company One Theatre. In "Hype Man," A hip-hop trio on the verge of making it big are rocked by the police shooting of an unarmed 17-year-old. Verb, the group's hype man, is driven to activism by the tragedy, but his frontman Pinnacle feels it will hurt their brand. Friendships fray as this spirited play dissects the dynamics of race, sexism, and privilege. "A sharply directed show," says Jared, "incredibly well acted as you watch these characters grapple with elusive agency."

"HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True," presented by the American Repertory Theater through February 11

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Omonor in "HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True"
Gretjen Helene Photography, courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

Presented by the American Repertory Theater, "HEAR WORD: Naija Woman Talk True" features stories of inequality, abuse, and ultimately, empowerment, from Nigerian women. Headlined by a cast of "Nollywood" actresses, the play was originally born on the streets of Nigeria. Director Ifeoma Fafunwa pairs moving and deeply personal accounts with celebratory song and dance. "It takes you right into the heart of abuse," says Jared, "but you leave the theater armed with awareness and action."

"Robert Baines: Living Treasure and Fabulous Follies," on view in MassArt’s Bakalar and Paine galleries through March 3

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Robert Baines uses archaeometallurgy to create unique works of contemporary jewelry
courtesy of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design

At the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a new exhibition showcases jewelry with a playful yet scholarly twist in "Robert Baines: Living Treasure and Fabulous Follies." This free exhibition presents a retrospective of master jeweler and goldsmith Robert Baines, who for 40 years has deciphered the mysteries of ancient metalworking techniques. Using these skills, Baines creates supersized jewelry, armbands, and bejeweled discs with a personal flair.

Is there an artist you consider to be a living treasure? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!

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