Snout In Souliloquy – Ziyun Hong – Seoul.

Snout In Souliloquy – Ziyun Hong – Seoul from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

A Wall For All. Built by Ziyun Hong, Seoul, South Korea.

Snout In Souliloquy (after William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Written by Tilly Lunken
Produced by Victorine Pontillon and Tilly Lunken

The Actress: Ziyun Hong
Friends in Restaurant: Jialiang Bi, Linjian Dai, Zhen Jin, Zhijun Huang and Jinhan Wang
Directed by Ziyun Hong
Filmed and edited by Ziyun Hong
Narrated by Ziyun Hong

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Since graduating from East 15, Ziyun has worked on many projects as an actor, puppeteer, stage manager, director, and workshop leader. Recent credits include WAR HORSE, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, THE VILLA 1.0 & 2.0, COSI, THE OWNER etc. Ziyun is thrilled to get involved in the Snout In Souliloquy project. As a UK-trained Chinese actress who is currently residing in Seoul, she hopes to present something interesting in her self-directed short.

Snout In Souliloquy is a continuing international digital theatre project celebrating artistic connection and collaboration across the world.

 

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INTRODUCING: Snout in Souliloquy and our #WorldStage.

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A wall for all.

On this day where there seems little to celebrate we are announcing the next stage of our In Souliloquy project. Snout In Souliloquy is a monologue we have shared with artists around the world (#WorldStage) who are then returning their work to us to distribute a collection of their diverse and exciting interpretations.

So, we are here and we are building a wall. Of sorts. Not one to keep anyone out or to imprison ourselves but to connect with each other. It’s a wall on a stage, a digital stage – it’s a wall played by a person who fixes things and believes in the power of art and theatre to connect with people. It’s a wall played by an artist that appreciates the world and their part in it and challenges us to see how we live in a new celebratory light.

In Souliloquy is about connecting through characters and experience across time and giving voices and new understanding to known stories. It also involves connecting to each other now. Digital Theatre reaches new audiences outside a traditional context, it lets us watch in bed, or on a train and experience that one on one connection to each another person through a tiny screen. A soul is speaking to you. Listen.

One of us voted in this American Election. One of us voted in the Brexit referendum. Both of us grieved the outcomes of both. We are so very proud to be producing this next level of In Souliloquy in this context. Now more than ever we need to make good art (hat tip Neil Gaiman) to respond, challenge and connect us to new understandings of each other and the world.

We are theatre people. We make good theatre. We share it and we reach through whatever disconnect people feel. Here, come sit with us.

Let’s build something together, a stage – upon which sits a wall, for all.

Stay tuned for the release of Snout In Souliloquy in the second half of this month!

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PS. If you are interested in being involved/you know someone in a far flung corner of this planet who might be – do drop us a line!

 

 

 

 

A Little on Feminist Writing and Representation for In Souliloquy.

I recently submitted a play to an organisation that strongly recommended the writer adding in a #DiversityPledge to the script – explicitly encouraging producers to think of a diverse and representative cast. It’s an interesting idea to get the writer engaged in this and it got me thinking again about our responsibilities as artists to reflect the world and challenge perceived norms of representation.

In Souliloquy is at the heart about re-representation. It is about the selective voices we get to hear in a text, it is about giving forgotten characters a stage and it is about entering a dialogue with classic Shakespearean texts and deepening our understanding of them. Our tagline:

A question, a consequence, a soul seeking an audience.

Is an unrelenting promise. These are voices that have something to say and they are going to say it, however confronting it might become.

Much of this engagement is explicitly feminist -the majority of the characters we have produced so far are women, for the majority of the female characters in Shakespeare’s play have little agency or have time and presence when it suits the plot and are then discarded. Characters such as Lady Macbeth (one of the most feared and reviled women) and Ophelia (the most fetishized) are so much a part of our collective culture but are silent in response. They both die offstage, their deaths only registering in brief reactions of their male love interests.

Undersung or misrepresented are the two words we chose to help shape the project early on and they have guided us through curating the characters we have chosen. It is not surprising that most are women.

Characters such as Viola and Marina are rarely taken seriously – are dismissed as silly women in silly situations. But at their core both of these women are incredibly strong, take initiative and control of their life and situation and it is them that drive the action of the plot of their plays. These pieces give them a chance to express this, a platform to share directly with an audience.

Those with a traditional happily ever after are too given chance speak beyond that. Our Titania surprises both herself and her husband and Miranda dreams of the sea. These are complicated people, who exist beyond their titles and roles in society.

Our work also addresses the graphic violence towards women in a very different way to the source texts – where it is often used as little more than a plot device (Emilia’s murder in Othello) or as a way to illustrate a man’s character development (Lady Macduff and her family’s murder in Macbeth). Lavinia of course is so brutally treated – there are no words – but to not listen is far worse.

Our other characters (female and otherwise) fall into similar patterns of reclaiming their words (Cassandra), their position in society (Doll Tearsheet), their death (Cleopatra)…

…their love (Helena) and (Katherina) and their humanity (Margaret of Anjou).

And then of course, there is Juliet – our first released video from all the way back in Cycle 1 – unpacking the meaning of her final choice.

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There is so much there in all of these words and experiences and characters – we felt the need to share these. I felt the need to write them. Because at the end of it all what is a Souliloquy? It is a testimony that we are forced to listen to.

Our Lavinia speaks of a truth that we shall one day listen.  This blog is about the truths of women in Shakespeare’s works (we have a fair few blokes given new voices and truths too) and how they might address an audience directly as so many of them are denied. The female voice and experienced is so often viewed and distorted through a male pen, lens and direction we hoped to do something a little different.

Across our four cycles of In Souliloquy we have 16 new monologues written for female characters – classical characters redefined, re-imagined – angry, wistful, playful, heartbroken, strident and defiant they exist. They address their words to you, without waiting for permission or for another to speak. This is quite an unusual feat and we feel a pretty successful realisation of how we wanted to represent these characters.

However, we had an interesting experience as a team recently that made me feel the need to justify this project in terms of feminist representation and contemporary relevance. Sometimes I think people can be a little dismissive about revisiting and engaging with classical texts. Anyway, I started this post irritated at having to explain ourselves again but I don’t feel that anymore – writing this and revisiting the performances, words, direction and our production – I know.

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Although there is always room for better, more diverse representation and we will strive for that in our developing project – In Souliloquy is proudly feminist – every step of the way.

#DiversityPledge