The Pillow Book is based on the works of the 11th-century Japanese poet Sei Shonagon, whose writings of love and liberation also inspired Peter Greenaway's film The Pillow Book, starring Ewan McGregor. In the stage production, Shakti ends up completely naked, her body a canvas of day-glo painted images, before whipping herself into explosive finale of passion.
Born in 1957 in Kyoto, Japan, to an Indian father and a Japanese mother, Shakti studied yoga with her father and dance with her mother and with Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey and Luigi. She has since developed her own hybrid form of dance blending an array of Eastern traditions and yoga with Western jazz and contemporary rock.
Shakti, who describes The Pillow Book as a show with "no boundaries", comments: "The human body is something to be proud of and exalted. It is important, especially as a woman, to understand and realise and liberate our sexuality along with our innocence and be in charge of it. There is no holding back."
During the limited Arts run, The Pillow Book will play nightly at 9.00pm, following the earlier performance of the three-hander, The Vagina Monologues.
- by Terri Paddock