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A NIGHT WITH FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME: A SHOW ALL ABOUT THE AUDIENCE

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It’s Friday night, and I and two other friends drive into the ever-lively city of San Francisco to attend our first theater show since the pandemic. A line of people began to wrap around the ACT Theater on Geary Street, anticipating a night of improvised hip-hop from the Tony award winner and former Broadway show created by the one and only Lin Manuel Miranda: Freestyle Love Supreme. 

We take our seats, the lights go up, and a mic check begins. The rap style, very reminiscent of Hamilton and In the Heights, booms from the speakers and fills the theater. The stars of the show, Two Touch, Young Nees, Hummingbird, and Shockwave rush onto the stage to give a melodic introduction to what will fill our next 90 minutes, a scriptless show created by the audience’s suggestions.

Two Touch was our narrator for the night along with Shockwave providing unreal beats. With Hummingbird belting notes that filled the auditorium, Young Nees completely stole the show every time she came up with incredibly smart and witty lyrics to any prompt that was thrown her way. 

As the show began, Two Touch asked the audience about the things that we could never live without and created a hilarious rap about love, perfect for the Valentine’s Day weekend. He then flipped the question, asking what were the things that we, the audience, could absolutely live without. Predictably, the theater was filled with shouts of common dislikes such as mushrooms, Zoom classes, and white men. However, the cast knew the gems were found in the odd proposals, favoring suggestions like “ugly toads” and “my toddler, Collin.”

I had never been to a show where the audience was so crucial to the performance, so the odd suggestions from the audience that created the story line are what made the Freestyle Love Supreme experience so unique. As the cast interacted with the audience, my friends and I interacted with each other. Looking over to quickly give our thoughts about the questions, shouting at the stage, and laughing at crazy responses like when someone said they could totally live without their toddler, Collin.

As the show progressed, the cast further interacted with the crowd by asking for a full-length story to guide the upcoming songs. In particular, they asked the audience to share a moment in their lives where they wished they could get a redo. As audience members were allowed to be vulnerable with each other, an embarrassing story was chosen for a reenactment by the Freestyle Love Supreme cast. They gave the audience’s story a redo, creating a touching and absolutely hilarious moment.

The show ended with one final story from an audience member who was chosen to go up on stage and share their day. The cast translated the story with their unique spin, calling back to jokes from earlier moments from the show. The melodic beats and supreme lyricism of the performers were hypnotizing, allowing us, the audience, to momentarily forget the troubles of the world outside the theater walls. The lighting production was also improvised, aiding in the storytelling by using different colors and brightness to help set the mood for whatever we were about to experience. 

The Freestyle Love Supreme cast’s quickness, amazing music and rapping, and exceptional storytelling gave us a chance to dive into a fantasy world completely based on our ideas. It brought us together for an intimate shared experience, a kind of unity that is hard to come by these days. It felt so special to be part of this one-of-a-kind show all about the audience. Not one showing is the same as different crowds of people fill the theater each night, giving a completely unparalleled experience for all show-goers.

As the lights went dim and the curtains closed, my friends and I exited the theater, feeling giddy about the show we just saw, debriefing the oddities, and rejoicing in the amazing performances by the cast. Freestyle Love Supreme was a refreshing entertainment experience that allowed me to do more than be a spectator. Rather, I actually got to be a part of it. It was, by definition, a show like no other.