The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10 at La MaMa

By 3/30/2023 11:31:00 AM

La MaMa welcomed back audiences to the renovated venue The Club, with March 23-26 production of ‘The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10’, a multimedia Afrofuturist production about a robot that longs to be a real boy.

Tarish Jeghetto Pipkins The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10 at La MaMa
photo credit: Steven Pisano

Note: I received media tickets for review purposes. Views expressed are 100% my own.

But it's a bit more then that. Overall "The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10’, created by Tarish Pipkins or “Jeghetto”, does a good job of mixing puppetry, audio and visual video storytelling. ‘The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10,’ by Jeghetto, also features an original score by Hip Hop producer Hir-O.

While the story itself isn't new, humans not caring for earth, robots taking over, and a "savior" having to find his way etc...we get to see the story told in more then one way, which gives a unique experince as Tarish and his puppeteers helpers (aka his sons) change puppets, scenes and the narryive.

The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10 at La MaMa

The puppets themselves are amazing in action and really more so once you learn they're handmade by Tarish himself for the purpose of telling his stories.

The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10 at La MaMa

After the perfoamce, on another floor in the renovated space, some of Tarish's puppets not used in the show was avaiable for the audience to get a closer look. This was actaully a very cool tie-in and hope La MaMa continues to provide more behind the scenes access like this.

The Hip Hopera of 5P1N0K10’ by Tarish Pipkins

Jeghetto refers to his work as “artivism” — a way to creatively express his views on social justice and give the audience a call to consciousness.

“I don’t think politics is the answer; art is the only way to make change in the world,” Pipkins says. “You have to get into people’s hearts and minds. If you can hear a dope story that relates to you, that’s what motivates you to think about your surroundings. People react to stories more than news and politics. Storytelling is my form of activism.”

Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins is a poet, visual artist, and barber, who was inspired to take up the art of puppetry after a conversation with Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

He chose the stage name “Jeghetto,” a portmanteau of Geppetto and ghetto, to reflect his childhood in the projects of Pittsburgh, and their influence on his artistic vision. Using only recycled materials, he has created a world of astonishing 21st-century puppets, which include a dinosaur, a dreadlocked cellist, the Beast, and an Afro-futurist breakdancing android who wants to be a real boy.

Tarish’s puppets have appeared alongside such celebrities as Missy Elliot, Pharrell Williams, and Alec Baldwin. Despite his national success, Tarish believes his most important work lies in connecting with a generation of kids who see themselves in his art more fully than they do in solely hip-hop or “Sesame Street.”

La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa’s 61st “Remake A World” Season believes in the power of art to bring sustainable change over time and transform cultural narrative.

Learn more, visit -

You Might Also Like