Composer Byron Au Yong and I were artists-in-residence at the 2014 International Festival of Arts & Ideas to develop Trigger, a theatrical oratorio about belonging and isolation prompted by the Virginia Tech Tragedy.

We learned from inspiring performances and meetings with the creators of County of Kings, Cry You One, The Events and Santa Cecilia.

Here is the poem I read at the Water, Arts & Activism panel (Apologies to all of you to whom I promised I’d post it the next day, which was a month ago).

Byron asked Can Art Mediate Conflict?, and we wrote a bunch of new songs and raps for Trigger, which a brave group of 32 workshop participants helped us play with in our (un)master(ful) class Working Through It.

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HOW TO BREAK is on a top-secret mission

Amber Reauchean Williams as Ana, by Benjamin Heller

After headlining the 2012 Hip-Hop Theater Festival at HERE in NYC, HOW TO BREAK came to New Haven in 2013 with Collective Consciousness Theatre and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Arts for Healing Festival, which featured the art and poetry of 50 young patients living with chronic illness, and a new musical created by local teenagers with sickle cell disease. Afterwards, HOW TO BREAK was heard yelling something like “Yarrrr! This Arts for Healing Festival was so transformative I want to collaborate with children’s hospitals and theatres all over the country… no… the world!”

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STUCK ELEVATOR kick-starts comprehensive immigration reform in my brain

Me and Byron’s show is so ready to tour, the Variety review calls it a “ready-to-tour” title. Tour producer Thomas Kriegsmann / ArKtype is kicking butts and taking names of presenters bringing Stuck Elevator (and the NEFA National Theatre Project touring subsidy that comes with it) to their theatres in 2014-2016. Contact Tommy ( 917-386-5468) if you want to jump on the bandwagon tour of the critically-acclaimed ACT/Long Wharf/International Festival of Arts & Ideas version. Contact my agent Peregrine Whittlesey ( / 212-787-1802) if you love the show so much you have to create your own production and/or if you want practice saying “Peregrine Whittlesey.”

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The name of my new literary agent is Peregrine Whittlesey.

I know. It’s the coolest name of anyone I know personally who’s not an imaginary friend. Contact her if you’re a theatre interested in KINGDOM, STUCK ELEVATOR or HOW TO BREAK: / 212-787-1802.

P.S.- “Peregrine” means roving or traveling, and a Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world. What.PeregrineFalconNet

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HOW TO BREAK in NYC Oct 18-Nov 4

A brand-new creation by the Mixing Texts Collective (playwright Aaron Jafferis, breaking pioneers Kwikstep + Rokafella, beatboxers Adam Matta + Yako 440, indie rocker Rebecca Hart, director Christopher Edwards) and a dynamite team of actors and designers, HOW TO BREAK will bring its sick self to NYC this October 18 – November 4 with HERE and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, in association with Collective Consciousness Theatre.

Check out the feature “Writing on the Paper of Hip Hop” on

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STUCK ELEVATOR premieres at A.C.T. in 2013


In the spirit of the beloved hit The Black Rider, A.C.T. is thrilled to continue the tradition of introducing eclectic, unforgettable musical projects to the stage with the world premiere of Stuck Elevator (April 4–28). A powerful and poignant hip-hop opera, Stuck Elevator is based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention—with dire consequences for this illegal immigrant. Stuck in limbo, he launches into poignant and hilarious hallucinations about his past, present, and future. Inventively staged by OBIE Award winner and internationally acclaimed artist Chay Yew, Stuck Elevator unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas, from immigration and labor to familial obligation and fortune cookies.

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  • Stuck Elevator: Audacious, compelling and hugely imaginative.” – Huffington Post
  • About Aaron

    Aaron Jafferis is a hip hop poet and playwright. Read his bio, his CV, or contact him.