Now Playing at Culture Project, 55 Mercer Street @ Broome Street, 212-925-1900, CultureProject.org.
Written and Composed by Lenelle Moise
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Starring Lennel Moise and Karla Mosley
Spoken-word artist, playwright and composer Lenelle Moise’s latest work is a vibrant and bittersweet ode to race, sexuality, art, family and fame. Steeped in rich neo jazz by Moise and interpretive choreography by Nicco Annan, this theatrical exploration of black womanhood stars Moise and Karla Mosley as lifelong sister-friends who flee to Europe and rise to stardom on the Paris jazz scene.
As close childhood companions, Claudie (Moise) and Alphine (Mosley) negotiate a rocky terrain of sex, longing and addiction – all themes which inform their journey through profound loss into womanhood, across the Atlantic and into the spotlight as the smoldering jazz duo Black Venus.
Armed only with their phenomenal voices and a JamMan loop machine, Moise and Mosley perform Expatriate’s electrifying original musical score. Moise’s sensual, velvety timbre is a sublime counterpart to Mosley’s glorious soprano, and her composition is hauntingly beautiful.
From the concrete jungle to the Paris elite, the characters’ mutual evolution is both seamless and textured. Moise and Mosley play their finely-drawn roles with haunting passion and precision. From scene to scene, the arc of their relationship is beautifully and convincingly rendered in this refreshingly honest and deeply moving two-woman tour de force.