An interview with Moorita Encantada
I 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 quite 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.
At 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.
Even 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: 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!
In 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 had 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.