Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Orlando In Souliloquy.

Orlando In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Performed by Kaiden Du Bois
Written by Victorine Pontillon
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
After William Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida.
Orlando In Souliloquy is part of Cycle 4 of this project

Special thanks to Jennifer Hook and Tilly Lunken.
In Souliloquy is devised and produced by V&T

Victorine's Orlando is lovely and it is deceptively simple in both construction and flow. Kaiden's performance is lively and he infuses the character with such a charisma you can't help but want his continued happiness. 

We had a fantastic amount of fun on this shoot - it was also the first to star the amazing wallpaper that Google photos insists on declaring Hawaii. So, surfer dude indeed, this Orlando is an intrepid adventurer in more ways that one! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Titania In Souliloquy.

Titania In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Titania In Souliloquy by Tilly Lunken (After William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream)
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by Eliza Power.

The reconciliation of Titania in the play with her husband with Oberon is quite unsatisfactory. It sort of runs on the assumption that they return to how they were before and that is that. There is no resolution to their dance, it finishes with he wins and she's back on his wavelength.  

Our Titania is transformed by her experience. There is no doubt that she would be altered by such intense feelings. I was really interested in exploring how this might change someone and what happened next. How would a reconciliation happen and more importantly how would Titania herself reclaim herself after losing control. 

Again a first draft of this one dived nose first into despair, the cold and flatline depression and tail chased in that void for too long. Victorine (Director Extraordinaire) reminded me of how playful Titania is in the play and of how much the petty argument between the King and Queen is based on a disconnect between eternal lovers. This resulted in a really satisfying tone shift in the redraft and a absolutely gorgeous performance by Eliza. She's every inch a Queen. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ophelia In Souliloquy.

Ophelia In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

She chose her own end. Don't forget that.

Ophelia In Souliloquy by Tilly Lunken (After William Shakespeare's Hamlet)
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by Lilian Schiffer.

In the play Ophelia is there to illustrate Hamlet's decaying character. She's little more than an object in both his and the audience eyes. There is no worth to her words, no consideration in her despair - she is reduced to a cut flower.

Our Ophelia is everything else in a person behind such a perception. There is no room for psuedo-romantic illusions with our Ophelia. She's shot starkly, with no artifice and Lilian performs her with a directness that peirces through any remaining preconceptions.

This piece has been exceptionally well received, partly because she engages as much with her representation post Hamlet and how complacent we have become with that. Be clear, she challenges. Meet this gaze with your assumptions. She doesn’t care if we do not understand why, but there is a why far beyond the absence we get in the play and the famous images of her death that litter our art history. In truth the images of her lying back forever half submerged make her skin crawl. Ophelia is honest, she does not care for beauty.

You can read more details and thoughts about writing Ophelia In Souliloquy in this post Why Ophelia I wrote on our In Souliloquy website.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Abhorsen In Souliloquy.

Abhorsen In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Abhorsen In Souliloquy by Tilly Lunken after William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by Richard Listor

Abhorsen in the play has a very important job but isn't taken seriously by either his employers or the people seeking to involve him in a plot. The idea of an executioner is an interesting one and the characters do discuss the mystery of his role but he is unsuccessful and convincing them to not make a mockery of his station and position.

Our Abhorsen is full of the feeling that one might need to carry out such employment. He is forced to see himself as justice even as he sees the fear in other people's eyes. It's also interesting that he seems himself very much as the sword arm of the state (who sanctions his murders) and beholden to a higher power than that. Make know mistake this man has a higher master, Death and that is ultimately the only ending we all answer to.

This is a quiet, creeping one. He doesn't let you forget who he is or what he does.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cleopatra In Souliloquy.

Cleopatra In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Cleopatra In Souliloquy by Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon and performed by Neil Gordon.
This piece is part of Cycle 3 of this project.

Cleopatra in the play is reduced to a "strumpet" - even in her death she has little power of how and why she might make a decision like that. She is fetishised and positioned as an exotic other who seduces the civilised Mark Antony with her wiles. Although their love is celebrated it is anything but pure - and is would never end happily.

Our Cleopatra is written as a Queen. She is that more than she is a woman and the writing is quite post-colonial in it's context of Empire and what it would mean for her personally and her kingdom if she had surrendered herself to the Romans. I was interested in exploring remembrance and history of her country and people as part of her role as divine ruler. 

We both wanted to work with Neil, performing in drag and we decided a Queen would be a fun thing to explore. I think writing the piece for them was a lovely thing and really played into lines like "lined eyes" and "I am no woman. I am Queen." It's knowing and works with a female performer, but why not play with it a little? Theatre involves artifice, so does make up, so does character - Cleopatra here - is built up and layered before you into a stunning vision.

This one is visually stunning. It's like a painting, it's mesmerising to watch the application of makeup. The performance is as much about what you see as what you hear.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tybalt In Souliloquy.

Tybalt In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Tybalt In Souliloquy by Tilly Lunken
Performed by Owen Clark and directed by Victorine Pontillon
After William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Part of Cycle 3 of In Souliloquy.

Tybalt in the play is an aggressive young man, quick to sword and loyalty. His death at the hands of Romeo is often brushed aside with a 'oh it moves along the plot' brush or he's just expected to end violently because of him being a firebrand.

Our Tybalt is not interested in romanticising his death. He's very direct about him not being deserving of his death - fast living doesn't mean he needed to die young. One of the key things I was interested exploring is the waste of potential of a life lost to violence at such a young age and the soul of that person realising that too late. It's a really moving piece and Owen really brings out the feeling of loss that Tybalt has as well as his ineffectual anger at only ever to be remembered as a hotheaded young villain quick to fight.

I hope he speaks to those caught up in situations where escaping them might mean live a little less fast but they have a life.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Katherina In Souliloquy.

Katherina In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

This Kate knows well the value of her kisses.

Katherina In Souliloquy by Tilly Lunken
After William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew
Directed by Victorine Pontillon and performed by Annie Mackenzie.

Katherina in the play is full of great dramatic juxtaposition, but her choices are taken away from her - possibly the only active choice she makes is to marry Petruchio. Certainly, she is tricked and coerced into it but she willingly agrees to the match. She is then resoundingly abused into a submissive wife, an echo of what her husband wants her to be. I is as if there is no choice here or in her speech at the end.

Our Kate takes control back of that final speech, in that it is her decision to submit and fall into the 'simple wife' role because she knows the man she married won't actually like that and soon enough she can become her true rebel self.

Katherina was an interesting one to write because her first incarnation was very angry at Petruchio, defiant and understandably cross about her treatment in the play. It took a director (Victorine) to point at the undercurrent of love in the play and use that as motivation for Kate. I think this gives her depths not seen before, her anger is there yes - but this is about more than that. It's about her wants and needs and her future.

Annie captures a quiet strength, we see her love shine - but there is going to be no compromise on her part if her husband doesn't change.

Incidentally this was especially a fun one to write because of the excellent production at The Globe (programmed by Emma Rice). The performances of the two leads in that were so good and really reinforced how right the redrafted version of our Katherine was.

Emilia In Souliloquy.

Emilia In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Emilia can't ever forget and she will never forgive.

By Tilly Lunken
After William Shakespeare’s Othello
Emilia In Souliloquy was directed by Victorine Pontillon for Cycle Two of In Souliloquy. It was performed by Shannon Howes. 

Emilia in the play has loud voice but it goes unheard and is often dismissed. She ends up being murdered by her husband Iago to silence her and stop her revealing his plots. Our Emilia is defiant in death and full of anger at what happened to her and her friend at the hands of the people they trusted to love and to hold.

She is such a force and we stand with her and her rage at injustice, only for then to pull back and watch as she admits her ultimate regret that leaves her stranded from heaven. Her faith betrayed her yes, but it is her very own self that she blames the most.

It's a vulnerable (and tightly balanced) performance. She might be there in black and white but the morality of her situation is anything but. 

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Viola In Souliloquy.

Viola In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

She found her song playing not who she was.

Viola In Souliloquy
By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon 
Performed by Peyvand Sadeghian

After William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.


Viola in the play has incredible agency as a character, but only when she is dressed up as a boy – she sets the entire plot in motion with her decision to disguise herself and make her own future. The confusion that this causes is tidied up neatly at the conclusion of the play.

Our Viola is a little wistful for the freedom she had and she well knows that her husband may not have loved her at all if they had not met as they did and she became his closest confident. 

I found this character quite hard to write, she didn't want to be captured - but I think eventually we got the balance between her living her 'happily ever after'and still being wistful for another life she had a taste for. I think the Peyvand's performance is beautiful - it's considered and reflective and gazing out into the window she just glows with character. It's very moving.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Richard III In Souliloquy.

Richard III In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Richard III In Souliloquy
By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon

After William Shakespeare’s Richard III

The Richard of the play is a proper villain, who revels in his evil and is cowardly in his ultimate demise.

Our Richard III places himself into a history acknowledging why he was written this way and whilst admitting he did terrible things, he deserves the due respect accorded to the rest of his family (in spite of their great sins). 

Richard as a character of course comes with immense mythology - there have been many books, theories and discussions around his place in history and literature. Our addition to this includes a great performance that captures the true cost to a person's legacy of villainy - that is then exaggerated and transcribed for the stage and history. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Miranda In Souliloquy.

Miranda In Souliloquy.
By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by Tessa Hart

After William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

A Princess who is an island.

In the play Miranda marries for love in a match that reunites her family and leaves behind her life and the magic of the island. She is swept up in love and plot and given no time to reflect on any choices she makes. 

Our Miranda is content in her heart but her mind is used to freedom and not being bound by the strict social conventions of being a Princess at Court. Her story falls into what happens in the 'happily ever after' genre - because what does that mean?

Working with Tessa was great, we both love the lyrical quality of her voice and how her eyes shines - she is Miranda and she really captures the lightness in tone of the character as well as taking on the seriousness of feeling trapped by her society and happiness.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy.

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy
By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by Chris Rogers
After William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

The Soothsayer is a warning in the play to Caesar but his reason is drowned out by others and so fate is sealed. He has little voice and is dismissed but shows great insight.

Our Soothsayer speaks of prophecy, of consequence and a little of himself and where he stands in the ruins of what path Rome takes. His voice is positioned in history and time and yet reaches beyond all that.

Chris' performance is a really intense and closely observed one. This man knows too much and cannot stop speaking this knowledge, even if he wanted to. This one also really benefits being just listened to with your eyes closed, his voice has such depth and feeling. 

Listen. Caesar didn't and look where that got him. 

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy is part of Cycle 2 of the In Souliloquy project.

Monday, August 8, 2016

11 Thoughts on Preacher Season 1.

There are spoilers for the entirety of season one in this post! So don’t say you were not warned. Also, usual note on that I don’t really watch the gory bits and I am not here at this party for the gross and violence. Having said that, most of it was pretty much integral to the world building and plot so… you take it and hide behind a cushion.

1.     Dominic Cooper is Jesse.

I’ve loved Dominic Cooper since The History Boys but he often plays characters where you can see him as an actor. Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark etc. but here he inhabits this role so completely it’s mesmerising. He’s not anyone but this preacher – he stinks the sweat and is him. For me it was a joyful performance throughout, complicated and tightly wound. I can’t wait to see where it goes next. Also, for a show that did no explaining as to why Jesse was chosen by Genesis – Dominic Cooper’s performance kind of did. The presence of this person here, now means something. His boots, his skinny jeans, his collar and his hell of an accent.

2.     Tulip Love.

This lady is kick ass and complicated. Woo! Her introduction was insane and just the crazy side of awesome. Super sassy, mouthy and strong she appears but she is also just the right side of broken and her eyes shine with vulnerability. One of the most important flashbacks was her and Jesse as kids and their connection there cements how they are connected now and will forever be. Anyway, it’s super refreshing to have a female lead that says what she thinks, does what she wants and knows who she is. Love her!

3.     Cassidy’s loyalty.

I really loved the friendship between Cass and Jesse and how this developed and deepened throughout the season. It’s kind of hard to sympathise and empathise with someone who literally sucks blood to survive but he manages. He’s funny, tough and a real good listener – what more do you want in a best mate? He rounds out the main trio in a nice way, the love triangle thing not hopefully going to overshadow the fact he loves them both. It's hard to know what somebody like Cass believes in, so it's kind of nice he found Jesse.

4.     Emily’s Small Smile.

I feel Emily is underrated – she stuck around and put up with Jesse’s shit long before all of this went down. True, she was head over heels for him but still, there was something inside of her that connected with him. She knew he was not as he seemed and yet she helped him anyway. I feel the plot complications that happened with the character (becoming friends with Tulip – yeah ok /feeding Miles to Cass – um what) weren’t explored enough in the last couple of episodes to justify that murder. We needed to know more, and hell now we won’t. Although I live in hope – Lucy Griffiths has a fab screen presence.

5.     The Cowboy Stuff.

Ok, so bear with me here as someone unfamiliar with this world and not that interested in violence the only clue about who this person was came from reading some recaps. Dear Showrunners – assumed knowledge is ok but when without it your character doesn’t make any sense at all you have a problem. The Saint of Killers is an interesting concept – just use it. Don’t be cute. And do we really have to spend that long in his personal hell? No. I would also argue that the violence in these sections was amongst the worst in the show and not strictly necessary. Yeah. We get it is hell. He kills people. He wears a hat. 

6.     The titles were kind of awesome.

Boom! Ace overall. But also the opening one a bit off. AFRICA. Really guys? An entire complicated collection of countries and cultures and you go with AFRICA. If you can manage ALBUQUERQUE you can manage to not be lazy and stupid. The joy of these were how specific they could be – it was a nice nod to the comic origins of the story and there is potential for them to be used more. Less generic slightly awkward unconscious racial bias and we are cooking with gas.

7.     Donny Who?

I’m not sure anyone figured out who Donny was or what he needed to be in this show. And his switch in the last episode was really weird and happened entirely off screen. Cop out much? Hell yes, we have seen various guises of this man and how he travels to them – why do we not get to see his conversion properly and thought process after the confrontation in the church. Interesting to note in his interaction with the car boot (which I didn’t watch) I totally thought he had killed himself – nice twist with the hearing thing.

8.     Eugene’s return.

Ah, this was heart breaking, but excellent use of the character. Having not read the comics, I really loved this kid. I felt terrible for him. I thought it was a really nice use of the form and medium to have him return as he did. I hope we see a lot more of him and I hope he does escape hell – whether to return as a villain out for revenge or to find some sort of peace.

9.     Annville’s Acceptance of Violence.

YEAH IT’S TOTALLY NORMAL THAT YOUR SHERRIF STRANGLES BLEEDING OUT ANGELS IN BATHS. Good lord. Sometimes I felt this show need to get a grip. I mean I know it was stylised violence but I couldn’t watch a lot of it. I don’t know about you but frequently I have hundreds of bodies piling up with loads of angels killing each other in my motel room all the time. Great scene, great sequence. How the hell did that get cleaned up? There was a vibe of weirdly charged violence to the place that when it got razed I’m sure someone somewhere took a breath and felt the earth was cleansed. 

10.  Angels.

Quite creepy. Into comics. Lonely.

11.  The meat thing.

I am frequently thankful to be vegetarian!

Preacher Season 1 is out now – you could pay money to an evil company that doesn’t pay tax and mistreats its workers or you could liberate it from a biscuit tin yourself.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Yorick In Souliloquy.

Yorick In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

No one truly knows another well.

Yorick In Souliloquy.
By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by John Last
After William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

In the play we meet Yorick only in death and only through the voice of Hamlet who clearly is focused on knowing his own self rather than who’s head he holds up. He isn't a character and yet almost everyone exposed to Shakespeare knows his name.

Our Yorick is angry. Angry at being remembered in a way he does not want and at being reduced to a prop for someone else’s story. He also challenges how well we know anyone - who says as a clown and the life of the party he could not end up somewhere dark and see his Once Prince again. We bear witness to the false remembrance of this character.

There are no skulls.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Margaret of Anjou In Souliloquy.

Margaret of Anjou In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

By Victorine Pontillon
After William Shakespeare’s Henry VI

Margaret of Anjou In Souliloquy was directed by Victorine Pontillon and Tilly Lunken for Cycle One of In Souliloquy. It was performed by Victorine Pontillon.

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.

In the Henry plays Margaret morphs into a powerful monarch that unleashes the War of the Roses on England.

Our Margaret owns that history, she doesn’t need to sleep – but she still has to live with herself and she is haunted by how she will be remembered as something less than human.

What I love most about this piece is how much Victorine inhabits this character - she knows her so well - there is an intensity and focus to it that just pulls you right through. Listen to it. It's mesmirising. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lady Macbeth In Souliloquy.

Lady Macbeth In Souliloquy.
By Tilly Lunken
After William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Lady Macbeth In Souliloquy was directed by Victorine Pontillon for Cycle One of In Souliloquy. 
It was performed by Francesca Burgoyne.

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.

In the play Lady Macbeth is hugely ambitious and influences her husband. We hear a lot from her as she plots and steels herself for what is to come and then less and less as the Macbeth’s lives unravel. She dies offstage a footnote to her husband’s end.

Our Lady Macbeth rises to meet the suspicion around the “Scottish Play” and how she is always read as the greater villain to her husband. She was the first one I wrote and she was such fun to explore, I think there is so much in how absent she becomes in the play versus the vitriol her character receives today in literary and theatre studies. 

This monologue engages us, it engages her past, her present and her future, it engages literary criticism and theatrical superstition and it arrests us because Fran is Lady Macbeth. She is here, and as she is talking - we listen.


@insouliloquy - follow us! x

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Fool In Souliloquy.

The Fool In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

By Tilly Lunken
After William Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The Fool In Souliloquy was directed by Victorine Pontillon for Cycle One of In Souliloquy. It was performed by Michael Bagwell.

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.

In the play The Fool is a very important character early on in that he tells the truth to Lear about his daughters. He is a loyal and trusted servant, however in the storm once the story has no need for him he just disappears and is never referred to again.

Our Fool continues to speak truth, illustrating it with little rhymes and pointed barbs directly addressing the Bard. He challenges who’s stories are worthy of being recorded. 

As our token bloke in Cycle 1 - The Fool being given a voice very much ties back to class and the importance of artists to be heard. On that note you can listen to him on SoundCloud.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Helena In Souliloquy.

Helena believes in the truth of her love. She has to.

By Tilly Lunken
After William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
Helena In Souliloquy was directed by Victorine Pontillon for Cycle One of In Souliloquy. It was performed by Christine Leigh Milburn.

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.

Helena finishes the play living her happily ever after – she endured a distressing and unreal dream and awakes to find Demetrius still living it. She accepts this love as it appears as fierce as her own passion for him.

Our Helena knows she must continue to trust in her love; she can’t afford not to and yet she must continue reassure herself and justify it to us and herself that it is real. At night the questions come into her mind - but she shall put them aside. She has to! Otherwise she unravels her own happy ending.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fresh(er) Legs.

Written by Tilly Lunken
Directed by Rob Ellis
Starring: Fran Burgoyne, Sophie MacKenzie and Jonathan Edward Cobb
Make-up: Beth Crane

Assorted props sourced from: Stephanie Warwick, Dirk Van Dijk, Future Games of London, Kristina Crabbie, Sarah Louise Fowler

Produced by Tessa Hart and the The Bread & Roses Theatre team for The Platform.

Photography by Willow Rosenberg.

One of my favourite things about being a playwright is having work performed by different teams in different places at different times (and in different countries)! This has happened with three shorts of mine and it is a lovely, lovely thing.

Lovely because pretty much all of the productions have been great and also because this is so much a part of what theatre is about - it exists to come to life again and again.

Fresh Legs is a favourite of mine because it is so much fun. It was fun to write, fun to have read out and exceptionally fun to have performed both the first time round and the second time round.

These two are basically my life:

The rush of comedy is so real. It gives a buzz not quite like anything else and these two snappily delivered characters are a joy. 

Also important to Fresh Legs is genre. It's a comedy/horror fairytale that plays with but ultimately works with genre conventions. It's set at a high school at a Halloween dance - it's light but also dark. Interestingly out of over five directors that applied to work with it this time round only one stuck out as "getting it." Genre is a bit unusual in a short play - but it was so weird to read people's pitches that were so wide of the mark.

Anna:   Is that a chainsaw?
Ursula: Is that permanent paralysis.

Anyway, it was great to work with a director that not only "got it" but ran with it - Rob brought some epic Disney magic to this thing.

Suffice to say, to end this gush - this was an absolute pleasure. The prop and general production stress etc was totally worth it.

What a team! 

Thanks to all involved. 


Monday, June 27, 2016

Lavinia In Souliloquy.

Lavinia In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Lavinia In Souliloquy.
By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
Performed by Joanna May
Puppet Design, concept and Build: Joanna May
After William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

Lavinia In Souliloquy is part of Cycle 1 of In Souliloquy.

Photo by Jennifer Hook.

 Titus Andronicus is a violent, bloody play where many people are mutilated and murdered. Lavinia is raped and then has her tongue cut out and her hands cut off so she cannot tell her father Titus of her assault. She eventually communicates it to him and in revenge he murders her attackers before killing his daughter out of shame.

Our Lavinia’s soul speaks to us directly – this voice cuts through the silence and her pain and shouts out at the injustice of her life and death. The use of puppetry in filming this souliloquy was important to give layers to how our Lavinia with no mouth or hands shares her story. 

There is an important question for all puppetry work - why a puppet? I don't think you could have a live person acting this work. Listening to it yes, a voice disembodied but an actual actor you see I think would detract from both the violence inflicted on the character and what she was reduced to. This little puppet shows us the depths of meaning of Lavinia's words. So, listen.

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Juliet In Souliloquy.

Juliet In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

Juliet knows eternal love is misplaced in eternity.

By Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
After William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Juliet In Souliloquy was directed by Victorine Pontillon for Cycle One of In Souliloquy. It was performed by Fern McCauley.

In Souliloquy is co-devised and produced by Tilly Lunken and Victorine Pontillon.

In the play Juliet makes the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ for her love to join Romeo in death. They are to be united forever. Our Juliet has learned that eternal love has new meaning in eternity and how much that can hurt when it is what your life and death is defined by.

Fern's performance is remarkable. We both love it.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What is In Souliloquy?

A quick blog to write a little bit about a massive project I have been working on over the last couple of months. It is called In Souliloquy and here is a little wee taster to let you in on how wonderful it is.

Together with Victorine Pontillon, I have co-devised and produced (and written most) of these soliloquies - new insights into classic characters in the 21st century. Over the next while I shall be posting them here - with a little bit about how these people fit into their play and how we see them after the play.

The voices of the dead, the forgotten, the silence, the misunderstood. Join us in listening to these characters as they unleash a new life with new words. Come follow! @insouliloquy

Monday, May 2, 2016

X Thoughts About X.

X by Alistair McDowell
Directed by Vicky Featherstone
Royal Court - Jerwood Downstairs.

Where did the leaves come from?

Whew, Jessica Raine is a good actor.

Was the second act in a different room?

Where did the kitchen cabinet go?

If everything was reconstructed and re-enacted from the start why were there scenes that did not include Gilda?

Why did we not see the moment where everyone realised the clock wasn’t working?

What was the point of Cole?

It really isn’t cool to use attempted suicide in that way.

If comms were working and you couldn’t get anything back from earth, what about contacting all the other stations that kept getting mentioned? Mars? 

Why introduce proper hardcore horror conventions in the first half and then not use them again?

Why was only Ray haunted by the little girl?

There were big ideas here.

Each half felt like two separate plays.

Oh girls talking about masturbating! 

When you splice and play with genre conventions internal logic still should work.

As if you were the main character mate!

Black outs don’t actually add anything to the idea that time is distorted when they automatically make your audience shift into disconnected non-narrative headspace anyway.

If there was love why did we not see a connection echoed before in the reconstructions?

The idea of listening to silence is beautiful.

Were they ever in space?

If there are no trees how was there a cardboard serial box?

The bloody climax of the first act actually had no impact at all on the second.

I'm kinda impressed this got staged on a mainstream stage.

The way the world disintegrated was done very well but might have meant more if it had been established in the first place, if that wasn’t all a desperate reconstruction of events.

X = love

X = equations/the unknown

X = marks the spot

X = a kiss

X = treasure

X = the indefinable

X = what came before

X = a bloody gash across slit wrists.

X = X

I was waiting for something to happen at that window.

My dramaturg senses are twitching.

The set was amazing.

Why did nobody sing?

The way the stories merged together worked well but if the entire premise was based around retelling these stories then that should have been worked in from the start.


What we tell each other to keep each other sane?

When there is nothing else left.

To give each other hope.

To live. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Jane Eyre? Jane Squared.

It's a big anniversary year for literature (#Shakespeare400) but also with the bicenteniery of Charlotte Brontë's birth there has been a lot being written of about Jane Eyre - published in 1847 the face of female heroines forever changed. 

Jane is plain (described several times throughout) and the emphasis being on her character, soul and true nature rather than her looks is a breath of fresh air even today when characters are so much defined by their beauty.

Reading this article on the Guardian got me thinking of how and why I read Jane Eyre. It was first year uni - I had taken a token Modern Literature Class and Jane popped up in a week devoted to speculative/adaption literature in the form of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and then the Wide Sargasso Sea. A little embarrassed I hadn't read the source text I read all three and woah - I think my brain expanded threefold. 

The Eyre Affair is fabulous. It is a complex and fun literary adventure story where it's heroine Thursday Next has to solve mysteries as a Literary Detective and in her parallel universe have to deal directly with characters from fiction. Reading it after Jane Eyre was wonderful as I felt I could access Jane and Rochester again in a new context that breathed new understanding into the original source. 

Wide Sargasso Sea was more difficult to fall for because it is a deliberately confronting and difficult text. It is a feminist-post-colonial story of Mr. Rochester and his first wife - how they married and how her world disintegrated into madness.

I wrote an essay on Wide Sargasso Sea - my first proper encounter with postcolonial theory - about Antoinette Rochester and the deep sense of alienation from place that the characters experience. An excerpt below: 

Jean Rhys complicates colonial definitions of place by identifying characters with opposing positions and then bringing them into open conflict. This personification of colonial relationship is presented through Antoinette and Rochester’s tumultuous marriage. England versus the West Indies colony becomes Rochester versus Antoinette. In aligning reader sympathies with Antoinette, Rhys is challenging the colonial principle of English ascendancy. 

I didn't do that well in Modern Literature, although now reading back over my essay it is well argued and solid in content. I wasn't suited though to the more "high-brow" side of lit and fell very comfortably into Creative Writing and Theatre Studies. The thing I most took away from the course was how the layers of a work can be expanded, dissected, pulled apart, rebuilt and act as a spring board to new work. It changed how I receive and make art.

This week I've read a lot of other people's reactions to Jane Eyre and the more insightful nearly always mention Wide Sargasso Sea. For many it taints the story of the plain and little lady and her dark Rochester. For me, whilst they are in dialogue with each other it is quite easy to separate the two from each other and The Eyre Affair

Truth is I find very little more romantic than Jane returning to her blind love and him whispering "Jane, are you altogether real?" She is Edward and that is why we love her so.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Listening to the words.

I'm reading quite a lot at the moment. A lot of it is re-reading but some of it is new. It helps me feel that I am not wasting time and feel more connected with the world. As I read though, sometimes something happens beyond the pages.

Patti Smith. She turns up in the pages of Viv Albertine's Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys a memoir of living dangerously through Punk and finding herself again years later reconnecting with her guitar. At one point Patti shows up and shows her up. By being there, being herself and truer to anything Viv feels she has ever been able to achieve. It's a turning point in her life and it makes me grin - not only because I love Patti Smith but because earlier in the book I was groaning that Patti Smith could have been a light for this raging girl who kept banging on about how there were "no female guitarists" and "no girls in bands." Damn straight there was. It's fitting that recognising that kick started Viv's need to make art.

Patti is all about Art.

I'd been kicking myself I didn't buy the paperback M Train when I was in Melbourne because it's not out here in the UK til at least June. So I re-read Just Kids (which I love). This time I fall a bit into Patti's music too. Because the night becomes the soundtrack to the turning of winter into spring. My housemate is leaving and in the week before she is gone she buys me it and I find M Train is waiting for me on the stairs. Knowing I would never source one online she gives me a gift I read on the tube back from Heathrow. This older Patti is a disenchanted delight. Her love of murder mysteries affirms my own.

I read a few chapters and then lose the darn thing, somewhere in my room. I know it's around but it isn't anywhere on the surface and considering I lose my wallet, then have two weeks temping it doesn't seem important to find. Like its author M Train will come to me when needed.

So I read Good Omens which reconnects me with laughter and then I take up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Man, Murakami is such a mind-blowing writer. Re-reading this book is even weirder as rather than just going with it I find myself questioning. Questioning especially the women in this book and why they are all beautiful vessels for Mr. Wind-Up-Bird or other men and are never quite their own person. I read it during my commute and the violence makes me feel sick and scared for what we have become. I resurface though like the narrator as if a cat has returned to me and I am waiting for my love. Ultimately my brain reconciles the world and the words into something I can carry forward without falling down a well to find an answer.

I try not to twitch at the sound of the spring birds calling.

A few days after I finish The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle I find M Train. It's fallen down the back of my bed into a small crack where I had not thought to look. I return to a different world and let Patti tell of her search to reconnect with the world. In this search she picks up Murakami and completely immerses herself in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The bird, the house with the well - all the spaced out mindlessness her depression becomes focused on what happened to the house and on making connecting the bird to her own internal reality. The journey she has with these words and this book takes her to Japan, it leads her to buying a new house and it ultimately releases her into a future. Having just finished this book myself gave an incredible depth to reading another's experience of the same words and processing the same story. Accidentally sandwiching the two books gave a much more interesting reading of both.

I find it difficult to believe in fate. To believe in things that are meant to be, but a little part of me would like to think a bit more like Patti. A bit more that some things happen for a reason and the way and order that it happens can give new meaning to life. That we can make our own paths in our own ways to find our ownselves.

In the meantime I'm going to try and listen to the words.