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Startup Dreams, Hip Hop and Theater Meet in a New Play About Tech & Art

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Adesha and Beau stand in the foreground as they rehearse their lines.
Adesha Adefela and Beau Lewis stand in the foreground as they rehearse their lines.  (Courtesy of Beau Lewis)

At first it may seem like an odd-pairing: a white guy who is a silver-spoon-fed techie from the East Coast and a Black woman from Oakland who is a hard working natural genius in the field of engineering.

But through a series of events that unravel in the new play, “Cofounders”, the two learn to co-exist.

The worlds of art and tech are often pitted against one another, especially in the Bay Area. The conflict between the two groups often centers on issues of race, gender, class, housing, and accessibility.

Ryan Nicole Austin, Adesha Adefela and Beau Lewis are the trio behind the tale that addresses these issues, both on and off the stage.

Toward the end of the play, the actors break “the fourth wall,” and ask for audience involvement in addressing the aforementioned issues. These are things that the audience members are dealing with themselves, as the cast strategically has preformed this play in front of tech companies and arts organizations.

The play, a product of Rhyme Combinator, serves as a tool to spark critical conversations across communities, and even identify common ground between two cultures.

This week, we talk art and tech, and what can be done to curb the perceived divisions between the two.

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.


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