"Body Work" is based on a variety
of ideas on how black women are portrayed. These include the impressions
born of film and the media and W.E.B. du Bois' idea of "double consciousness"
- that black women are pressured to think about how they present themselves
to Society as women, and also how they present themselves as black women.
Then of course, there is the question of how women present themselves
to men, and society's expectations of how women should look as opposed
to how black men want them to look. Essentially, "Body Work"
considers the many different, often conflicting expectations that black
women are supposed to follow. The piece was originally commissioned by
The Drilling Company.
There are three characters: a woman of color (20's-30's), a man dressed
as a woman (not meant be a drag queen), who represents "the outer
voice of the woman," and a voice, representing the inner voice of
the woman. A principal part of the sound track is Sir Mix-A-Lot's "baby
got back," a paean to the black female posterior.
Claudia Alick (author, www.claudiaalick.com)
is a playwright, poet, actress, Executive Producer and Artistic Director
of Smokin Word. She is the author of the chap-books "The Haiku Scam",
and "Disingenious", reviews of hip-hop literature in BUST magazine,
and plays that have been staged at The Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth
Theatre, 45 Bleeker, Chashama Experimental Theatre, New Perspectives Theatre,
and PS 122 in the 2002 and 2003 NYC Hip Hop Theatre Festivals. Her play
"6 Hits" was a winner of the audience award in the Downtown
Urban Theatre Festival. She has won poetry slams at Nuyorican Poets Cafe,
Hottest Poets, Urbana Slam at The Bowery Poetry Bar, and A Little Bit
Louder at Bar 13 where she qualified as a finalist for their national
slam teams. Other performance credits include HBO's Def Poetry Jam, the
film "TerrorMarketers", and features in the documentaries "WordJunky"
(dir. Audrey Colcannon) and "Ladies on the Mic - Women in Hip-Hop"
(dir. Jessica Matluck). She has guest lectured at NYU, taught at Jamaica
Center for Arts and Learning, Bell Multi-Cultural Highschool with Arena
Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre's South East Project, P.A.L. After-school
centers, and most recently at Riker's Island with Community Word Project.
During the day she works as Production Coordinator in charge of casting
at Talking Book Productions recording studios.
Music for the production is being composed by Belief (beliefmusic.com),
who works with The Nuyorican Poets Café and creates beats for hip-hop
artists. Set design is by Callie Hirsch, using sculptures from a mannequin
series which can be seen online at www.callieart.com.
The director and cast are TBA as of this writing.
"BodyWork" was previously produced at George Washington University
1999 and by The Drilling Company at the 78th Street Theatre Lab in 2003.
It received a staged reading at Manhattan Theatre Club produced by Smokin
WordShop in 2004. Smokin' Word (www.smokinword.com)
is a New York based non-profit company focused on building the new genre
of hip-hop and spoken word theatre through the production of plays, chap
books, CDs and live events. It has an ongoing playwrights workshop named
Wordshop. Works by its participants have previously been produced by Primary
Stages and Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
This production is a part of the Performing Ethnicity International Conference
and Arts Festival, organized by Ma-Yi Theater Company, The City College
of New York, the University of the Philippines system and Philippine Forum.
Major support is provided by The Ford Foundation. For more information
on Performing Ethnicity, visit www.ma-yitheatre.org.
Ma-Yi Theater Company, now in its fifteenth season, is devoted to plays
of the Asian-American experience cross-cultural and intercultural collaborations.
It has been regularly featured in productions of The Club at La MaMa.