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!
Having 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.
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
plan 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 🙂
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?
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.