How to Break
Ignited by an electric collision of theatre, breaking, and lyrical flow, How to Break tells the story of two teenage dancers battling their hospital caregivers for control over their own bodies. Small gaps in race, class, and language between Ana (a popper with leukemia), Joel (a b-boy with sickle cell), and their treatment team – a pediatric hematologist, a music therapist and a nurse with a beatboxing problem – create life-threatening rifts.
The nurse mixes patients’ breath and IV beeps into beatboxed hospital soundscapes; the doctor and therapist wrestle over the health benefits of art versus painkillers; Ana and Joel break through their diagnoses to ask what it means to be ill.
Hip-hop playwright Aaron Jafferis – longtime writer-in-residence at a children’s hospital – brought stories of teenagers living with cancer and sickle cell disease to beatboxer Yako 440, folk rocker Rebecca Hart, composer Jacinth Greywoode, and the Mixing Texts Collective (breaking pioneers Kwikstep and Rokafella, beatboxer Adam Matta, and director Christopher Edwards), who together created an original musical exploding our notions of sickness and health.
Music by Rebecca Hart, Yako 440
and Jacinth Greywoode
Book and Lyrics by Aaron Jafferis
Direction by David Mendizábal
Choreography by Kwikstep & Rokafella
Dramaturgy by Morgan Smart
Originally conceived by
Aaron Jafferis, Adam Matta, Christopher Edwards, Kwikstep and Rokafella
Running Time: 90 minutes.
Touring Company of 8: A cast of 5, plus a Production Stage Manager, and two technicians for lights/set/sound/video.
917 748 7287
Collective Consciousness Theatre and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital have developed a How to Break toolkit to facilitate collaborations between theaters, hospitals and medical schools interested in using How to Break to ignite patient- and caregiver-created art, workshops and conversations about healthcare.
New Victory LabWorks 2019 + 2020
Village Theatre 2016 + 2018
Collective Consciousness/HartBeat 2015
SPKRBOX/National Theatre of Norway 2014 National Alliance for Music Theatre festival 2014 Collective Consciousness Theatre/Hi-ARTS 2013 HERE & Hip-Hop Theater Festival 2012
Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2010 & 2011
New York Theatre Barn 2011
The BIG ROOM 2010