16 March — 2 April 2022

Bat­ter­sea Arts Centre 

On the premise that his ques­tion can­not be answered, Malik Nashad Sharpe has developed the concept, cho­reo­graphy and dir­ec­tion of ‘He’s Dead’ “to shed tears for the things that we can­not unearth.” Com­bin­ing dance, text, live action, and sound, the work explores human­isa­tion, how far we can extend our care. This is their first time per­form­ing live at Bat­ter­sea Arts Centre (BAC).

Malik Nashad Sharpe (ali­as Marikiscrycrycry) is an artist work­ing in multi-media with cho­reo­graphy. With a cult fol­low­ing in London’s under­ground per­form­ance scene, his work has been presen­ted in theatres, gal­ler­ies, and fest­iv­al con­texts through­out the UK and inter­na­tion­ally.

‘He’s Dead’ is a three-act homage to Rap­per and act­or Tupac Shak­ur, killed aged 25 in 1996 from a drive-by shoot­ing. Marikiscrycrycry thinks Tupac was depressed from the know­ledge of that exper­i­ence in Tupac’s lyr­ics found in ‘Me Against the World’ and ‘So Many Tears’, with these tra­gic lyr­ics speak­ing of sui­cide. ‘He’s Dead’ has been made in three acts with each one as a portal into an emo­tion­al sceno­graphy look­ing at the viol­ence of dehu­man­isa­tion. For the ten years he has been mak­ing work, Sharpe has been ask­ing the same ques­tions look­ing at what it means to be a human, yet to be fight­ing for your human­ity con­stantly.

The first act starts with a vig­or­ous duet, at times joy­ous, at times tedi­ous, con­stantly chan­ging, defi­ant, pulsat­ing, present­ing the audi­ence with dif­fer­ent dance states. A rich envir­on­ment of enquiry is cre­ated around the human­ity of the body, rhythm work, the liv­ing archive of black dance mater­i­al, but it ends up dis­rup­ted by a viol­ent fight scene.

A hero emerges vic­tori­ous but this is com­plic­ated by the loss of everything around him, fight­ing for human­ity leads to a cer­tain kind of loss that is hard to artic­u­late. Ref­er­en­cing the lyr­ics of ‘So Many Tears’, par­tic­u­larly those around sui­cide ideation, they are sung as a bal­lad against a clas­sic­al organ back­drop.

The last scene sees the entire cast engage with the hope­ful ges­ture of dan­cing togeth­er, but this too also ends with a stance-in-defence, as if get­ting ready for anoth­er battle. The work is cur­rently per­formed by Blue Mak­wana, Eve Stain­ton, and Alex­an­der Love.

Marikiscrycrycry says:

“A lot of my work inev­it­ably says: Viol­ence stays the same. It doesn’t end, or ‘get bet­ter’. It just con­tin­ues. It returns with the same face. It feels like the human con­di­tion. I yearn for hon­esty about that.

I think what inev­it­ably excites me the most about work­ing with them (my cre­at­ive team, these dan­cers) is their unique per­spect­ives of move­ment, and their skill­set in terms of per­form­ance. That there is some­thing about the way they move that sets them apart. Dif­fer­ence is a really import­ant mater­i­al that under­pins all of my work, and I mean that bey­ond iden­tity polit­ics. Who they are as people, excites me and the per­spect­ives they bring are not made in an echo cham­ber, they clash and cre­ate fric­tion.

I repur­pose Tupac’s lyr­ics into the work and turn into a mel­an­chol­ic bal­lad. My goal in this work is inev­it­ably to show that dehu­man­isa­tion is so rife in our world. If a fig­ure is flawed in any way by their actions, their sad­ness can­not be heard, acknow­ledged. It is heightened end­lessly if you are Black.

The show will be per­formed in Bat­ter­sea Arts Centre’s Coun­cil Cham­ber: “BAC is a beau­ti­ful build­ing with an amaz­ing tra­di­tion for hold­ing exper­i­ment­al work, and punchy pro­pos­i­tions well. I am excited to join that lin­eage.”

‘He’s Dead’ is styled rather than cos­tumed by artist Mia Max­well select­ing baggy 90s out­fits from Hip-Hop music videos, in animé, with visu­al kei and emo aes­thet­ics. The major­ity of the ori­gin­al sound was cre­ated spe­cific­ally for He’s Dead by Yummy Online and Joanna Pope and also includes music by JONI.

‘He’s Dead’ is at Bat­ter­sea Arts Centre from 16 March to 2 April 2022. Every per­form­ance will be Relaxed, and there will be a Sens­ory Adapt­ive per­form­ance on Thursday 31 March. At BAC this means loud sounds and intense light­ing, includ­ing flash­ing lights, will be softened and the audi­ence will not be in the dark. To make the show access­ible to as wide an audi­ence as pos­sible, all tick­ets are part of BAC’s new Pay What You Can pri­cing mod­el. For more inform­a­tion vis­it  

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.