You’re a troubled kid. Your emotionally void, workaholic father leaves your mother, and she commits suicide.

When your father remarries a hot young thing, she takes your virginity (you willingly let her). Your life hasn’t been easy.

One day you ride the train to Brooklyn and stumble into Sir John’s bookstore. He becomes your mentor.

He schools you on how to rhyme. He molds your mind like clay.

Written and performed by Matt Sax, “Clay” is a riveting night of spoken word poetry, high stakes drama and broken down emotion. A recent graduate of Northwestern University, Sax was classically trained at Juilliard, Stella Adler and the Lee Strasburg Institute.

Yet when he grabs the mic, all training falls to the side as he sucks you into his dysfunctional sphere expressed through rhyme. Sax is funny (“I’m bringing herpes back”), eloquent, witty and gritty as he tackles his extreme pain.

He switches effortlessly between each of the characters of the play, stamping each with its own unique mannerisms and voice. His father is nebbish, his stepmom needy, his mother lost and Clay is a teenager struggling to find his way with the aid of rap.

Clay’s good. Sir John sees his potential, thus treating him like the son he doesn’t have to become the star he never had the chance to be.

Sax’s stamina is amazing. Yet it’s obvious his true love is for Clay.

The lyrics he writes and delivers in rhythmic perfection are chilling. Sax in real life has almost completed his own hip-hop album entitled The Dream Album. The kid has true skills that shine onstage.

The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. For more information, call (213) 628-2772 or visit