Boils, the death of cattle, and hip hop

It’s three in the morning. You’re perspiring, you’re tired, you’re wired and if you don’t get this done you’re going to be fired. We’ve all had nights like these, despite planning and effort. Some people can’t handle the pressure, but for some, this is fuel for success.

I’m revelling as hip hop rockets skyward with intelligence and wit. I’m not saying that hip hop as a genre has never done this before, but there has seldom been such a compelling bridge between popular culture and one of the oldest stories in existence.

Sage Theatre and Foque Dans La Tête Productions present JOB: The Hip-Hop Musical, a show that redefines the way we think about anachronism and literature. Where else can you find a biblical parable and a popular musical style set in the craziness of contemporary corporate life?

Job Lowe (a.k.a. Joe Blow) works for a record company, Hoover Records, and is the favourite employee of his boss J. Hoover (a.k.a. Jehovah). Vice-President Finance Lou Saphire (a.k.a. Lucifer) persuades Hoover to test the loyalty of his most beloved employee by cutting his benefits, then cutting him from the corporate ladder altogether.

Conceived at the gruelling end of their time at university, finishing with solid philosophy backgrounds, Jerome Saibil and Eli Batalion came up with the actual production version of JOB, but it was delayed due to natural academic insanity.

"The script was written in two weeks because of school," admits Eli.

After the dust settled, the two Montreal natives had these two weeks to prepare lyrics and rhymes for the local Fringe Festival.

Like the last-minute work of many student writers–ahem–their creation turned out to be a startling success. From fringe to favourite, JOB took off–drowning in praise from such famous names as filmmaker Atom Egoyan and CBC Radio’s Dean Jenkinson.

Since its conception, Saibil and Batalion have taken their creation across North America on the Fringe Fest circuit. It finally arrives in Calgary this week.

"We weren’t really targeting anyone specific," replied Saibil when asked who the intended audience was."But there is a certain age bracket that will have the knowledge to understand the content: the students."

It makes sense. Who else is likely to understand references ranging from John 3:16 to Jay-Z?

Intelligent and informed, JOB delivers as an entertaining and thoughtful look at one of the world’s oldest pieces of literature.

So come on out, bring your parents, tell them the story behind the show, and get ’em back for all those times you were told never to leave things to the last minute.

Planning on introducing your churchgoing grandma to hip hop? JOB is running through Nov. 1, at The New Dance/Theatre 1425-9 Ave. SE.

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