Tony Award-winning poet Lemon Andersen is debuting his latest one-man show, "When Aliens Fall From the Sky," at ASU Gammage on March 26.
In the show, Andersen shines a light on the “unidentified, undocumented (and) unyielding,” and their struggles to belong in a community that was built on the backs of their hard work and sacrifice.
This performance is intended to share the stories and experiences of Latino communities through the lens of several characters while addressing bigger systemic issues in America and providing a new path forward.
“I think the audience will understand themselves through the characters whether they can personally relate to them or not. They might not be a Latino in America, but they will know about us now, and that's the impact, because the second the show's over, the results belong to the audience,” Andersen said.
Andersen grew up in Brooklyn, New York, with a Puerto Rican mother and a Norwegian American father. He experienced the struggles of making it on his own since childhood through many obstacles, including poverty and isolation, before finding an outlet to express himself and speak his truth through poetry.
“When I first saw poetry on stage, it was very magical to me because so many of the poets were entertaining their scars,” said Andersen. “I knew that's where I wanted to be as an artist. I wanted to be in a place where I can be that vulnerable, and yet, getting better throughout the years and transcending art was important to me as well.”
Andersen is known for his work as a critically acclaimed playwright, poet, performance artist, youth empowerment activist, brand creative and television writer. He has also been a performance artist in residency at ASU Gammage for the past three years and has been an active member of the poetry and performing arts community at ASU.
“I have a different relationship with poetry than the average poet, because, to me, everything is poetry: how I live my life, how I dress up, how I put these together — it's all poetic,” Andersen said.
"When Aliens Fall From the Sky" is a combination of purposeful spoken word, active choreography and colorful light design intended to captivate the audience and transport them to a place of Andersen’s creation.
The audience “hears the words and sees some beautiful abstract images that allow them to connect with poetry through their own imagination and their own experience connected to the words,” said Elise Thoron, director and co-developer of the show.
Andersen’s approach to storytelling embraces poetry as invigorating and aims to be unlike any other spoken-word performance. This show was created for the theater and connects audiences to an intimately colorful narrative piece.
“Theater can be really powerful in creating community between peoples because you're alive, you're in the same space and you're responding in time to the characters and their stories as they develop,” Thoron said.
"When Aliens Fall From the Sky" will be at ASU Gammage for one night only on Saturday, March 26. For tickets and more information, visit asugammage.com/shows-events/when-aliens-fall-sky.
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