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.