As I walked into the Red Venue, I was tired from a long day at work but managed to drag myself to Tap Me on the Shoulder to offer a review. And I am so happy I did because, although it’s simple, this show was awesome and one of my favorites by far!
Erika Kate MacDonald, part of Pack of Others and the writer and performer of the solo-woman show, is making her Orlando Fringe debut this year, and she is bringing a delightfully energetic and entertaining story of her life with her. Even before the show began, she greeted her audience, asking what our names were and thanking us for coming.
For the next hour, you’re transported into the life of MacDonald as she tells the story of how she started rapping. Yes, that is what the show is ultimately about. While I read the little mini-bio about each show before going, I was not sure what to expect from this one. But as a true hip-hop head myself and lover of a great story (as I am a journalist), MacDonald’s show kept me on the edge of my seat.
She tells the story about her two roommates that she lived with on the edge of this no-man’s land-type of neighborhood near Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and how one of her roommates-Tim-helps teach her not only to appreciate rap but learn how to spit some verses herself. She does her show in a story-telling format and when you least expect it, she breaks into rap; but with her easy-going attitude, the lyrics and story seem to blend together as one.
From Indonesian Gamelan music to playing “slang Scrabble” to MacDonald talking about Nas’ famous hip-hop album Illmatic, she brings her giddiness as a performer and person with the laid-back styles and rhythms of hip-hop and rap to make a show that keeps you constantly entertained the whole time. I found myself even bobbing my head when she played either her friend Tim’s rap song, Nas’ or when she rapped herself. I looked around and saw that everyone else was into the music, too.
It was at the end that she invited the audience onto the stage to share an intimate moment (in her imaginary recreation of her living room in Brooklyn), where she raps the first rap she wrote-a response to a death threat screamed by a woman who lived in the Sunset Park no-man’s land of a neighborhood. The flow of her rap and lyrical prowess shows how it’s through rap she creates an identity and response to the world.
Despite calling herself a “queer white woman” who raps, she makes the most educated and uneducated people in rap music feel her music and nod to her raps. Tap Me on the Shoulder really lets you get to walk a mile in MacDonald’s shoes for an hour. And, she did say at the beginning that so many of her raps grew out of the soles of her feet.
So don’t miss out on this show during Fringe; it is a great show that takes you on a journey you won’t want to miss.