Lime interview - Comedy
Kat's got your tongue
Lime caught up with Kat Francois to talk about the power of the spoken word and her comedy show at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Kat Francois is a triple threat who refuses to be pigeonholed and cites herself as purely an entertainer through poetry, music and comedy.
Where do the words come from?
Just life, things that inspire me or make me vex, those are the things I tend to write about.
Artists such as the late Michael Jackson said that the music/words often come to them in the night, would you agree?
It could be anywhere like the bus stop, I like to be around people, that’s when I seem to write my best. I might be sitting at poetry events and be inspired by what’s going on.
When you won the UK Poetry Slam in 2004 and were crowned World Slam Champion in 2005, do you feel this cemented your place in this industry?
It opened me up on an international level to travelling and performing overseas especially in Europe. It also gave me the opportunity to do BBC work on the radio and even got me onto Blue Peter.
So how did you start out?
I was writing secretly for years. Starting out 10 years ago, I didn’t know you could take your words, learn and recite them like a performance; it just took my breath away.
Through your words, what do you want audiences to evoke?
You have a comedy event coming up at the Stratford Royal, Kat’s Got Your Tongue; how are you preparing for this?
Pulling out my locs (laughs), I am in rehearsal and writing new material. I’m on the comedy scene trying out my new characters, reading and watching Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.
Why should people come and see your show?
I am funny as hell. I have got a lot of new things to say. I am shameless; I talk about things that other females don’t dare to talk about.
How are you feeling when you’re onstage?
Very nervous, sometimes I rip up scripts before shows. I am a perfectionist and put a lot of pressure on myself. But once you start connecting with the audience it is the most amazing feeling probably similar to people who bungee jump, only this is my flying.
You lend your hand to music and comedy as well, is there a preference or any major transition?
I just like to perform, everybody tries to box performers. My comedy and music are new in comparison to my poetry. These are all things that have been a natural and organic transition.
You host the monthly performance poetry night Word4Word. It must be a pleasure being surrounded by such raw talent.
I heard word of an upcoming book later this year, what other projects do you have in the pipe-line?
I am working on my second collection of poetry coming out later in the autumn. I have a small publishing company and I am looking to do an anthology of black artists on the scene and archive them.
The show must go on
Actor Lucian Msamati takes on the role as the foreigner in his homeland.