Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

The Mayhem Poets play with words in slam-style presentation Jan. 28 at Schwab

Described as “ ‘The Simpsons’ meets Malcolm X at a Notorious B.I.G. concert,” The Mayhem Poets will share a love of wordplay with a slam-themed performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in Schwab Auditorium.

Purchase tickets, which are $25 for an adult, $9 for a University Park student and $20 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

The Mayhem Poets met while students at New Jersey’s Rutgers University and honed their craft to win a business development grant in the 2006 Microsoft Idea Wins Challenge. The trio—Scott Raven, Mason Granger and Mikumari Caiyhe—blends hip-hop rhythms, music and stand-up comedy in a theatrical presentation aimed at helping people find their own voices.

In a video pitch to the Microsoft contest, the poets had fun with alliteration, rhyme, meter play and syllable emphasis to further their vision of popularizing poetry.

“For the past five years, our verbal tacticians have been researching the human need for personal expression,” a voice in the video states. “They have each come to the same conclusion: People of all demographics have been flocking to this new form of lyrical stimuli—a high-energy, diverse, theatrical style of poetry known as slam.”

The trio’s name is derived from the 1999 film “Fight Club,” but the poets are language lovers not fighters. “Their only weapon is words, specifically the snappy, streetwise art known as slam poetry,” wrote a New York Times reviewer. “And they deploy it brilliantly … .”

The performance will include adult language.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, takes place in Schwab one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

Go to The Mayhem Poets for more information.

Watch a preview of the trio.