Sunday, April 22, 2007

Malika Booker's "Unplanned"

Earlier this evening I went to check out Malika Booker’s one-woman show “Unplanned” at the Battersea Arts Centre ( in South London, near Clapham Junction. I knew nothing about her beforehand, safe for what my friend Chris had told me, basically that she was one of London’s hottest slam/dub poets. Hot she was, the show was an amazing example of creative synergy, as she brought together some strong writing, with a wicked lighting show, a clever sampling of sounds, and a solid use of props. Above all, it was how this was made to work on stage that was truly inspiring. That’s it, I left the BAC feeling inspired to write, as the performance went on, the ideas were spinning so fast in my head I could hardly keep up with Booker’s smooth voice. When she came by after the show and asked us how we liked it, I couldn’t help but bubble over with enthusiasm, and not even because I thought her writing was so good, in fact, I didn’t think it was that tight, but again, it was what she had the guts to throw together for us that so moved me.

To give you an idea, the show ranged from storytelling using aluminum foil, to shadow stories using backlighting and a screen, to a showing of a film on a 20” tv, all the while relying on audience participation. All of this was organized around a theme of sex, pregnancy and the control of women’s bodies, in a way that rocked you gently into her narrative, as if we were all newborns being told a bedtime story. The truest sign of success, in my eyes, is that I left the show wanting only to write. Do you know that feeling? Like you have a thirst, a deep hunger, that nothing but sitting down and engaging in some creative pursuit will quench. It’s a precious feeling, like nothing else in the world. Well, I suppose love- deep, passionate, I-miss-you-when-you’re-out-of-my-sight love- that comes close, very close. But that’s for another day, or perhaps place. It does, however, feel very appropriate that Booker’s show has brought me onto the subject of love, because that’s what I felt watching her. A love for art, for performance, for the spoken, felt word. Thank you Malika (and Chris for turning me onto her).


Chris said...

wow - you're fast! glad you enjoyed the show, was fun hanging out this weekend. My stuff can be found here. take it easy and have a good rest of trip.