Performer, producer and director. These are the titles held by DWe Williams of the theatrical group, Rhythmically Speaking. Formed 11 years ago out of a need for authentic African American based children’s theatre, the group has performed more than 25 shows. The educationally entertaining group always seeks out one moment of each show to inspire and educate their audience.
“In every performance, there is what we call a ‘teachable moment’ and that is the opportunity to educate [the audience].
The best part is they get it because they get a chance to see the history performed right in front of them,” Williams said.
Rhythmically Speaking is focused on cultural theater, which is designed for the entire family. “We want to be culturally inviting, but at the same time we want to be able to be understood culturally by the rhythm of our performances,” she said. “We are storytellers and song writers. Instinctively, we put music into our shows, and that is what the kids come away singing at the end of the performance.”
As a young girl, Williams always had a fascination for theater. Growing up with two older sisters that had an abundance of musical talent, she was sometimes shy about expressing her own unique gifts. However, while attending college, studying speech and theater education, her true art began to shine. This led to scripting all of the performances done today by Rhythmically Speaking.
With titles such as Sweet Biscuits, Beat Ya! The Race of the Rabbit and the Hedgehog and Ships Ahoy, Williams puts a bit of her own personal touch into each show.
“It’s true. We recently did a performance called The Gumbo Pot about a grandmother from New Orleans that lost everything in hurricane Katrina. She relocated to Oklahoma City with just a few items, including her gumbo pot, which was full of memories and stories from life in southern Louisiana,” Williams said. “This is much more common than you would think.”
Partnered with the Outreach Program through the metro library system, Rhythmically Speaking will perform over a dozen shows throughout February. The performance will be titled: A Hidden Solider: I Need A Job.
“It is the story of Cathay Williams who disguised herself and reversed her name to join the Army asWilliam “Cathey”. From 1866 to 1868 Cathay Williams was a soldier in the 38th Infantry, making her the one and only documented female Buffalo Soldier to serve in the United States Army,” Williams said.
Rhythmically Speaking will be performing at the Edmond Public Library Tuesday, February 19, at 7 p.m. Log onto www.rhythmicallyspeaking.net for more information on Rhythmically Speaking.