On Thursday night at Dallas’ Black Academy Of Arts And Letters, Erykah Badu gave the first of three performances of her one-woman show “Live Nudity,” and as Pitchfork reports, it sounds completely batshit. The entire hour-and-45-minute thing was improvised, divided into 13 scenes of sketch comedy, musical performance, and, uh, other weird shit. Like this, according to the Dallas Observer:
Yes, Badu dons sock puppets and, using a Rosie Perez accent, has her cotton-clad fists get into a domestic squabble that devolves into repetitions of “fuckin’ shit” until you wish one of the puppets would actually sock the other sock and knock it out. Another bit that goes stale puts Badu center stage slowly eating a bag of potato chips. That’s it. Crunch, crunch, crunch into the mic.
Some of the show, however, seemed to land a little more:
In one improvised monologue in Live Nudity on Thursday, Badu did reveal some comic potential playing an unctuous New Age motivational speaker explaining chakras and forcing audience participation before comically dubbing patrons “pedophiles” and “thieves.” She’s onto some funny source material there.
And at the end of the show, lolling in a bathtub under a blue spotlight, she turned personal and serious, going into an almost trancelike state as she delivered an emotional speech about racism. “I’m trying to figure out if there is a place on the planet where it’s OK to be black,” she mused. In that statement alone lies the idea for a great piece of theater.
The performance was, as Badu told the audience, her way “as an artist…to be in control of my inconsistencies.” Read the full review of the performance here, and check out a few clips below.