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The Many Faces of Moorita Part 2

Moorita 6I’d like to welcome back the fabulous Moorita Encantada. For those of you who missed Part I of this interview, Moorita is not only a fabulous performer with an amazing creative mind, but she’s also my  co-conspiritor for the play, The Eye of The Beholder.

Moorita is a versatile cabaret and variety performer, and an unforgettable stage persona. Her acts combine a professional touch of a trained theatre performer and musician with an outstanding originality and unrestrained creative expression.

Wild, unpredictable and ever surprising, she has already brought a breath of fresh air to cabaret stages in London and beyond. Her work has been applauded at UK’s best cabaret nights and venues such as Madame Jojo’s, Proud Cabaret, Volupté and The Wet Spot Leeds, as well as internationally. But the fulfilment of her bigger artistic vision is only about to happen..

KD: Moorita, as I told you when we began this project, it’s all new to me. I’ve never written for theatre of any kind. I’m a Moorita 8novelist, but fundamentally a story teller is a story teller, and a story told through the medium of performance as well as words is even more powerful. What do you think it takes to translate a story from the written word to a stage performance? What’s most important?

Moorita: From a perspective of a theatre performer I would say that precision, conciseness of the story line and integrity of characters is key. Both need to stir different emotions in the audience, they need to demand to be followed with attention. At the same time – maybe even more so in performance than literary works – the audience needs to be challenged in order to stay engaged. Art within a performance is so delicate and intangible, it’s what happens between the actor and the viewer within a certain time frame, and once it happened, then and there, it’s irretrievable. This means the performance is incredibly prone to a variety of things that might go wrong. Strong, integral story and well sketched characters are the spine of performance, the precious certainty in the middle of all the variables that holds it all together.

KD: As most people know by now, the story we’ve chosen to tell is the story of Medusa and Perseus, from Greek mythology, but with a very wicked, very exciting twist of our own. Could you tell us what attracted you to this particular story, other than me saying please, please, please can we do it!

Moorita: I’m very fond of mythology myself, after all, this – together with holy texts of different religions – is what our culture is built on. What’s amazing about the Bible, Quran, I Ching and Greek mythology is different layers of meanings waiting to be uncovered by a keen reader. What can be particularly satisfying is digging deeper into characters and stories that have a commonly accepted stereotype. One of such stories is the story of Perseus and Medusa, a mythical monster which ends up the way monsters are supposed to end up – dying a death that supports a “good” cause.

On second glance though, there seems to be more to Medusa, there is some controversy and a tragic story behind her becoming a monster (she was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple and consequently “punished” by the goddess). Yet another look, and a fascinating character emerges – together with a whole lot of questions about what the real story behind the myth might be, or how the well-known story could be told differently. After I read your short story Stones from the anthology, Seducing the Myth, edited by Lucy Felthouse, I was hooked on the idea. I knew this would work incredibly well on stage.

KD: Moorita, my vision of the play was, for a long time, just to get it written down and give you something to work with. Oh yes, I was nervous about it! But now that it’s on paper, now that you’ve actually performed one fabulous scene from it to rave reviews, I might add, what is your vision for the road ahead?

  Moorita 4Moorita: Apart from being a mad creative genius 😉 I also have a pragmatic side, fully aware of what it takes to make complex, unproven things happen, and I’m very results oriented. My experience of creating great acts suggests that after a glorious moment of getting a key creative insight, there always comes a “reality test” when things start to feel a little awkward and you are no longer dead sure you are a mad genius. Only truly good ideas (coupled with big enough balls) can stand that test and get implemented with success.

After my performance at Sh! I’m convinced that the play, once on stage, will not only take burlesque to a new level, but, quite simply, will also be a box office success. I now have a clear vision of next steps: break the script into separate scenes that can be performed on their own, find fabulous performers to fill in the gaps between the words with their charisma, and let each of these acts defend itself in front of a real audience.

KD: Wow! I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Moorita, I happen to know for a fact that you’ll be giving another taste of Medusa, and The Eye of the Beholder in Scarborough for the fabulous Smut by the Sea event on the 22nd of June. Can you tell us a little bit about that and maybe tease us a bit with what you have in mind?

Moorita12Moorita: Oh I can definitely tease about Smut or indeed anything else for longer than you’d be able to take it 😉 My ambition for the 22nd of June is to perform, for the first time, a scene between two characters from the play. Without revealing all (just yet!) expect a serious sparkle between them and, quite possibly, some stunning Shibari bondage.

KD:  Oooh! Sounds fabulous! I can hardly wait! So, Moorita, my partner in crime and my friend, it’s been an exciting ride so far, and now, where do we go from here?

Moorita: Heh, I suppose it’s high time to get serious about taking over the world with our artistic vision! 😉 And, as Garbage put it in a song, “the world is not enough, but it is just the perfect place to start my love”.

KD: Thank you so much for your time, Moorita. I’m most definitely looking forward to the next chapter of world domination Moorita & KD style! And if any of you lovely readers are in the Scarborough area on the 22nd of June and have a hankering for some Smut by the Sea with a sexy helping of burlesque and theatre Moorita style, come join us!

 

The Many Faces of Moorita Part 1

An interview with Moorita Encantada

Moorita 9I can’t tell you how excited I am to be interviewing my multi-talented friend, Moorita Encantada. Moorita is not only a fabulous performer with an amazing creative mind, but she’s also my  co-conspiritor for the play, The Eye of The Beholder.

Moorita is a versatile cabaret and variety performer, and an unforgettable stage persona. Her acts combine a professional touch of a trained theatre performer and musician with an outstanding originality and unrestrained creative expression.

Wild, unpredictable and ever surprising, she has already brought a breath of fresh air to cabaret stages in London and beyond. Her work has been applauded at UK’s best cabaret nights and venues such as Madame Jojo’s, Proud Cabaret, Volupté and The Wet Spot Leeds, as well as internationally. But the fulfilment of her bigger artistic vision is only about to happen..

KD: Welcome, Moorita! Seeing you prefrom as Medusa at the Double Whammy launch party at Sh! a couple of weeks ago reminded me just how many faces Moorita Encantada wears, and I would love to know, as I’m sure the readers would, how did you get involved in burlesque, and why burlesque specifically?

Moorita: Close to two years ago now I went through a moment of a creative low. I was doing well at work but I was still imagequite disappointed with myself on the whole. I felt like the best part of me was dying, and if I wasn’t going to do something about it soon enough, it might be gone forever. I remember walking past Cafe de Paris in Piccadilly Circus and deciding I was going to find out how to become a showgirl. One thing led to anther, I enrolled on a burlesque course, created my first act, then another and started performing in London and beyond. The rest is history.

Moorita 11At first burlesque was an just a liberating adventure, but soon enough I understood it offered a unique opportunity for boundless artistic expression. Fully embraced burlesque equals classical theatre minus all social taboos. On top of this, even though I don’t see myself as a feminist, I enjoy the feministic taint of burlesque. Socially, we are presented with many conflicting ideas of who and how we should be as women. Performance art, and burlesque in particular, allows us to redefine, in an as radical a way as we please, what femininity means to every single one of us.

KD: I’m over the moon that you chose me to collaborate with on this wonderful project of ours, the burlesque play, The Eye of the Beholder, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d love to know what inspired the idea of a burlesque play, which as far as I know is very unique.

Moorita: I’ve always firmly believed that there is more to burlesque than vintage bras and fake jewels, I saw it as theatre and cabaret’s bastard child, with enormous potential. Seeing Howard Wilmot’s “Burlexe” (not quite a “burlesque play” but so much more towards the medium of the theatre than anything else on the scene) was to me the proof that burlesque audience is ready for a different quality of experience.

Moorita 10Even though our project is quite unique, there are several outstanding performers on the scene whose acts focus on the dramatic and story driven side of burlesque, such as Audacity Chutzpah or Shirley Windmill. Others I admire have a clear identity (or “edge”) and share my belief that the boundaries of burlesque can be stretched as far as one pleases: Miss Jones, Vivacity Bliss, Lolo Brow, Rubyyy Jones, Miss Cairo Mascara, etc. These performers, and others, contributed to my deep conviction that burlesque is an incredibly powerful performance art, the potential of which is really quite unexplored.

Finally, and most importantly, your skill as a writer, and your hugely empowering energy KD – as well as your pursuit of deeper meaning of erotica – convinced me that this partnership is a unique opportunity to create something outstanding.

KD:  Wow! Thanks, Moorita. *Smiling ear to ear* You made my day!  I’ve watched a good bit of burlesque, and I’d have to say your performances are not what I think most people would consider conventional burlesque. Forgive me if that statement is a bit of an oxymoron, but your performances tend to be both gritty and funny as well as amazingly beautiful, even moving. Can you tell us a bit about your approach to burlesque?

moorita 13Moorita: The funny thing is that even though I have an appreciation of classical burlesque – pinup, cheesecake, retro sirens, vintage lingerie and loads of rhinestones – and love watching it performed well, I’d never do it myself. I guess that because of my theatrical and musical training, most of the time I simply don’t find it challenging enough (and it’s at an intersection of outstanding creativity and a healthy challenge that really interesting things tend to happen).

In short, my acts are like Marmite – you will love them or hate them. I’m fully into risqué, intellectually provocative entertainment blurring the boundaries of artistic genres.

I’ve been told it’s my stage presence, energy, original, wacky ideas and good singing voice that make my acts demand an audience’s attention.

I think I’m a relatively talented comedienne (though I know many people who would outshine me!) and I usually seek a deeper meaning through story based performance. Even a simple burlesque act would usually be inspired by an insight, or a snapshot of a little fragment of reality, appropriately zoomed in and cropped.

KD: I know how exciting I’ve found this collaboration of ours to be, and how full of surprises, but I’d like to hear how you feel about it and what surprised you most, what excited you most, what’s been the most difficult?

Moorita: Wow, that’s quite a lot to think about!

Moorita 7In terms of surprise, I’m still bewildered that we actually made it happen. As they say, ideas are worthless and execution is everything. When we first started talking about the project, the idea in itself seemed amazing but it would have amounted to nothing if you hadn’t had lots of creative energy and found time to write it, and I hadn’t done pretty much the same to stage the “Medusa’s liar” scene.  Now that we’ve managed to execute on the idea, I’m proud and impatient to see it come together  wholly.

I was really excited while in the process of brainstorming the story and the staging of it when we first started. I adore that creative high, particularly if it happens between two people on the same wavelength, artistically speaking. I was  even more excited on the 20.04 though, while performing at Sh! It’s amazing to see a more or less abstract idea come into flesh in an interaction with real audience. I felt the energy flowing between all of us, it was one of those rare moments I felt totally aligned, doing the right thing, at the right place and in the right time. I’m sure you’ll understand what I’m talking about when I say it felt like getting a little wink from the Universe, as if to say “good work girl!”.

As is generally the case with ambitious projects people undertake, the most difficult were moments of self-doubt. Before the play was even written I hadMoorita 3 at least two established promoters wish me luck and say that in their opinion a “burlesque play” would never work. Consequently, once the first draft of the script was ready, I was impressed but at the same time overwhelmed by the thought of what an incredible challenge it was to get it all on stage! I could picture beautifully written scenes and well constructed characters in my head and I fully realised what talent, effort, and logistical challenge it was to make it all happen in the real world.. It was scary.

Now that I got my proof that the audience will love “The Eye of the Beholder”, I just want to move on with the rest of the play. I’m still aware of how much work it will take to complete the project, only now I actually look forward to getting it done! I guess I learnt that little internal critic insisting that “it can’t work” is the only enemy that really matters.

KD: Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your journey and your insites, Moorita. And thanks for sharing the adventure with me. It’s been a wild ride, and I venture to say, it’s just beginning.

Join us next Saturday for Part 2 of The Many Faces of Moorita, and more about The Eye of the Beholder.

 

 

 

Burlesque Meets Mythology: Teaming Up with Moorita Encantada

KD: When the lovely Moorita Encantada approached me with the idea that we collaborate on a ‘burlesque play’ based on one of my stories, I was totally intrigued and more than a little bit intimidated. I had seen her perform and was bowled over by the innovative, edgy quirkiness of her burlesque performances. She had heard me read several times and had read some of my work, and the idea of collaborating with her and creating something totally different was very exciting.

Moorita: This project was born out of a beautiful clash of two types of artistic sensitivity – that of a writer, and that of a performer. I love KD’s writing for the way she uses erotica and sexuality as key to understand the magic and mystery of a human being. I have a similar approach to burlesque and cabaret: it’s a sophisticated tool that can be used to uncover deep human truths while being very accessible and simply hugely entertaining!
Moorita EncantadaHaving met through Erotic Meet and hit it off immediately, we spent quite a bit of time discussing what a “burlesque play” could look like and what it should involve. We asked ourselves what were the foundations of burlesque (e.g. musicality and humour), and how we could best use them in the context of a theatrical play. We also felt that the genre was often banalised by critics and unambitious performers alike. We took it on as an exciting challenge to explore the true potential of burlesque as an art form.
KD: Once I got brave enough to actually put words on the page, I pulled together some ideas in a three act format. Since I’ve never written a play before I’m still scrambling to understand such a different style of writing while imagining a story that will lend itself to burlesque and to the stage. One of the first decisions we made before our official meeting was that most of my existing work was too long or not really what we were had in mind for this project, so we chose a mythological theme and let our imaginations run wild. We had dozens of email conversations over the rough draft that was beginning to take shape, with Moorita shooting ideas back at me and sharing pieces of music she thought might work along with ideas about the costuming the motivation of our characters.  At last we felt  we were ready to meet. We had our first serious brainstorming session a week ago Friday in London at Home House, a private club with a very welcoming, very creative atmosphere. In a long evening over lattes and, later, cocktails, our Coctails Flaming Passion 8 Feb2013 1st meetingplan began to take shape.
Moorita: I loved how, without failure, we were constantly winding each other up creatively and coming up with ideas and solutions that were a step or two ahead of the original concept. If all this happened during the very first meeting, I just can’t wait to see what happens next!
Also, we seem to be just on the same page in terms of artistic boldness, which is great. We are equally out of our comfort zones and just loving the ride! Based on experience, best ideas tend to come from people who are good enough at what they do to allow themselves complete freedom to indulge in wacky experiments. If that’s the winning formula, we’ve already won 🙂
KD: My job is to get the story down and make it exciting for the audience. That’s always a writer’s job. But in a novel, I have only words to get that story  from my imagination to the reader’s. Moorita, however, sees my word pictures as performances, as that combination of dance, music, costumes, drama and comedy that give the audience a multi-dimensional experience. What writer wouldn’t want to see her story brought to life on a stage? And when Moorita and I met for the first time, the ideas she brought for what that performance would look like made the way I pictured our story come to life and move in directions I wouldn’t have thought of without that added dimension of performance.
Moorita: Since KD is an amazing writer, I have no doubts that the script itself will be of top quality. She already enriched the story with amazing ideas taken from her literary practice, experience and education. I just can’t imagine putting this together without her wisdom, vision and passion for the written word.
My challenge will be to make this workable in the context of the stage, with all its limits and opportunities. Obviously, people involved in this project as performers and their individual skills will be crucial, which is why selecting the right cast is one of the most important points on my agenda. Next, we need to put all sorts of things in place – hopefully with help of an experienced theatre director – to pull this very ambitious project off the ground logistically.

KD: Moorita, I have to say at the moment, I’m most looking forward to getting a solid story written and ready to stage. It’s all there in my head, and thanks to our brainstorming session, the vision is so much clearer and more exciting. I can’t wait till our next meeting.

What are you most looking forward to in the process?

1st planning meeting Home HouseMoorita: The launch of the play itself and the way it will open up other, unexplored avenues for cabaret and burlesque. I can visualise the opening night, filled with curiosity and expectation.. I know it will give me a tremendous satisfaction and will be the beginning of possibly the most interesting period of my artistic development
Next challenges are finalising the script, casting the right performers and finding a fabulous venue to host us. The main objective is to produce something that will be innovative and original while being accessible for a wide audience, and very professionally executed. It’s great that just by spreading the word amongst our friends, we are already receiving plenty of support and collaboration offers from artists of different kinds. These partnerships will be important going forward and have to be thought through carefully. We would like for this project to give many talented people an opportunity to showcase their work and benefit from exposure it will give them.
KD: Moorita and I decided that as we work to create our burlesque play we’ll document our creative process on A Hopeful Romantic.  Also because it’s a joint effort and something new, we thought it would be fun to keep it an open experience to share with friends and readers. Journeys are always more fun shared. As for our project, we’ll be giving more details as the process unfolds. But for now I’ll just say we’re taking a story from mythology, bringing it forward in time and twisting and turning it until you won’t believe what you’re seeing … or hearing.
 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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