Malik ‘Marikiscrycrycry’ Nashad Sharpe Talks … New play ‘Goner’

Malik Nashad Sharpe is a visionary artist that creates live choreographed shows, combining intensely visceral style with pop culture references to expose how inequalities and exploitation of marginalised communities are ingrained in our society.

His most recent work with Ellen Furey, High Bed Lower Castle, premiered a sold-out run with critical acclaim at Festival Transamerique in 2022, with critics calling it ‘bold, rich, dreamlike.’

His latest performance Goner is currently at the Yard Theatre. Goner is a fearsome dance horror journey into migration, alienation, belonging, addiction and violence. Packed with intoxicating sensuality, this villain-era defining piece is as fierce as it is hopeful. Wining, liming and rocking will converge, and end with ultimate bloodshed.

We spoke to Malik about Goner to find out more…

I’m Malik Nashad Sharpe. I’m a choreographer, movement director, and artist. My family is from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, but have been in London for nearly a decade. British-American-Vincentian.

Introduce yourself …

Describe your life right now in a word or one sentence …

Hectic.

Tell us about your latest project ‘Goner‘…

Goner is my new solo dance horror asking What Makes a Monster? I conceived it and I’m the choreographer and the performer of the work.

Goner – Image Credit: Ralf Hersborg

How did it come about?

Now that I’ve been making work for almost ten years, I realised that most of my work has dealt with darker subject matters as it relates to my Black experience. In some ways Goner coalesces much of what my past work has been implicitly working with. I wanted to challenge myself to make a solo performance that tries to interrogate the genre of horror in a live context. I’ve always paid attention to what I see in the world around me, the many horrors of our daily life, and these things always filter into my work.

In terms of working with the concept of the Goner, I wanted to create a suspended circumstance in which we can hear the wail, screams, thoughts, and feelings of someone who is doomed to their imminent death. And it felt to me that this concept, combined with tropes of horror, could create a really rich dynamic that is relevant to the things we see in our real worlds.

Highs, lows, solutions …

I haven’t made an evening-length solo work since 2015, so that’s been a challenge in a lot of ways, but I really feel the project has mostly been really positive. I guess the subject matter is a little heavy-hitting, so you have to keep the working positive. Funding is always an issue because this moment everything feels unstable, people need more support, and the prices of things are going higher and higher but artist wages have stagnated, even decreased since I started making work. I think surrounding myself with creatives who deeply believe in the power of what they do, helps me remember that there is a necessity to making and showing choreographic works.

A scene or a moment that defines why decided this was the project you wanted to do?

Watching All Of Us Are Dead in the pandemic. I got obsessed with the mechanics of movement associated with zombies, and hardcore gore. Also Jordan Peele’s films, and his expansion of the canon of horror. The dark fantasy anime, Akame ga Kill! is a huge influence on my aesthetics. And I have been choreographing the movement direction on shows with explicit and implicit horror undertones such as Fairview at the Young Vic, The Glow at The Royal Court, Bootycandy at The Gate and Henry V at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Goner – Image Credit: Ralf Hersborg

What’s your current plan B?

I don’t believe in manifesting negative possibilities.

What are you watching right now?

Ultimate Beastmaster, Married to Medicine, Rick and Morty, Succession, Junji Ito Maniac: Tales of Japanese Macabre

What are you reading right now?

Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong, Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

What are you listening to right now?

POULETTE byTRG, Girls by Rat Jesu, Dummy by Jean Dawson, 2.6M by Implaccable, No Clarity by Ice Spice, 22 by JayOh, The Real Lil Reese by RXNephew.

The last thing you saw on stage?

Cowpuncher by Holly Blakey.

What’s on your bucket list?

I would love to go to the northern territories of Turtle Island (also known as North America).

Celebrate someone else
Ivan Michael Blackstock, an amazing choreographer who recently won an Olivier Award for his amazing work Traplord. Blue Makwana, is an icon, dancer, choreographer, and amazing person. Tabitha Thorlu-Bengaru, her knowledge and direction in music has taught me so much, a real talent. ManWigs, amazing wig maker and artist, a fab rockstar Chloe Filani, is a beautiful poet and writer whose work moves me Tatenda Shamiso, an amazing theatre talent, performer, and artist. Iconic, really! HASZNAT*, incredible creative, musician, stylist, and artist-icon. Watch out for them, for sure.

Celebrate yourself …

Since being selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2022, I’ve been realising my work getting on a larger scale and I’ve got a number of new works in the pipeline until 2025-2026. It’s very exciting.

Whose footsteps are you following in?

I have always been on my own path. I don’t idolise, or follow.

What’s Next?

I have a new large-scale work made for 8 dancers called Dark, Happy, to the Core premiering at Roskilde Festival in Denmark, in June 2023. We are also bringing Goner to Skopje, North Macedonia in June 2023, and I will be performing as a dancer in Tamara Alegre’s NX FUIMOS, in Stockholm, also in June. Busy times ahead.

Where can we watch Goner?

Goner premieres 18th April and runs until 22nd April at The Yard’s NOW Festival and then tours, 2nd June at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Skopje, North Macedonia. 1st – 2nd September at Dansehallerne, Copenhagen, Denmark and Cambridge Junction TBC. Find out more here.

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