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.