Internationally renowned sword swallower MisSa will be with us in December with her debut solo show Rising of the Black Sheep. We got a chance to (virtually) ask her some burning questions.
OMNIBUS THEATRE: Tell us about Rising of the Black Sheep – what can audiences expect?
MISSA: The show is an exciting mix of music, spoken word and movement piece. I am pushing boundaries within the classical lines of theatre combining my cabaret background with live art and circus skill. Further I invite my audience to experience the world out of the eye of a black woman making this emotional piece educational and an invitation to grow together through art and performance.
OT: What are some questions you always get from people about sword swallowing?
M: Is the sword real? I find this the most fascinating question. I always answer with telling people that I probably would not be flown around the world to do the job if it wasn’t real! Honestly it boggles my mind that it is so difficult to believe that the sword is real. I mean I nearly died learning the skill. That should be proof enough or?
What does it feel like when the sword goes down your oesophagus ? It feels like a big cold piece of metal is sliding through my insides. Literally.
How long took it to learn the skill? 3 years and counting. It feels like I have to keep adjusting along with the changed of my body.
How did you learn it? That’s my secret sorry!
OT: This is your first solo show – what inspired to do it?
M: There are so many reasons. I’ve been working as a solo performer for 11 years now and have been in many amazing shows. However I always only got to perform my sword act for 5 minutes. As a black woman I often get the ‘exotic – mysterious – dangerous’ role in a show and unfortunately very rarely get to speak for myself. I have a story to tell and did so already on BBC Radio and on TEDx. It was time take the steering wheel into my own hands. I was ready to pic up the mic and tell the world about my life and art myself.
OT: As an internationally-renowned sword swallower, where’s been the most exciting place you’ve performed?
M: Definitely Las Vegas! I was invited as the first sword swallower to perform at the famous Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in 2018. The stage was huge with 1000 people strong audience. It was a trip! Second was definitely Tokyo. I’ve been treated very well there and the city blew my mind.
OT: Are there any other performers you’re particularly excited about right now?
M: I am always extremely excited about the work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and his performance group La Pocha Nostra from San Francisco. La Pocha Nostra creates “Chicano cyber-punk performances”, and “ethno-techno art”. The group is formed of a few core members form the USA and Mexico plus alumni from all over the world. They currently screen virtual performances on https://www.guillermogomezpena.com/la-pocha-nostra/. Check them out!
OT: What’s next after Rising of the Black Sheep for you?
M: This is only the beginning of the show. If the pandemic permits I hope to tour the show all the way through 2021 in the UK and 2022 world wide. On top of that I am currently producing my first spoken word poetry film to be released in January and hope to publish a poetry book soon!
MisSa will be here with her debut solo show Rising of the Black Sheep 17-18 Dec – get your tickets HERE→