V&T’s Big Epic #ShakespeareSunday Souliloquy Celebration.

Today Tilly and Victorine answer “what’s your favourite part of each Souliloquy?” It goes without saying, each performance was so different, unexpected and brilliant, it’s hard to pick favourite things. However we’ve given it a good go. Here’s a chance for you to revisit ones you love and watch one’s you’ve missed.

All the Character Titles are links to the character portfolio.

Juliet

V: The calm, detached nature of Fern’s performance. It gives the heartbreak and tragedy a whole new, unspeakable level.

T: It’s always a treat when an actor surprises you. Fern just got Juliet in her own way and you feel so much for her. It’s quite a simple text, because of the character’s age but she brings such beautiful depth to that simplicity.

Lady Macbeth

T: We filmed Fran first and I cried. It was just such a rush to see and hear those words come alive in her character – she gives a gift of a performance. It’s perfection.

V: The tear. That was such a genuine and beautiful moment – to capture that was an incredible first day/first Souliloquy gift.

V&T: Also this:
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The Fool

V: Michael’s sing-songy bit. It was so significant of his whole Fool – such a cheeky, playful character yet biting and cynical.

T: I love the song in this one. Michael’s voice is often singing it in my head now – it’s such a perfect capture of both the humour and the darkness of the character.

Lavinia

V: The delicateness of Joanna & Egg’s movement. Simplicity and beauty to contrast the harshness and violence of the words.

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T: I don’t think you can perform this piece visually without a puppet. It needs that layering and I love Jo’s performance and Little Egg so much. It’s captivating.

Helena

T: The lovely earnestness that Christine brought to this is super endearing. Can’t you just imagine Helena being exactly like that? I want to hug her and reassure her it’s ok.  

V: Christine’s performance really influenced the edit on this one – so different from what I had planned, it gave me a whole new perspective! I love when actors make you think like that!

Margaret of Anjou

V: Rewriting and doing it on camera vs. stage. It really shifted the performance and the things I found in the text, which is always incredibly rewarding.

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T: Victorine is Margaret. Watching her inhabit these words is a real privilege, it was very special being in the room and witnessing her performance.

Emilia

V: The raw emotion. I have always admired Shannon’s ability to strip herself down and just go with what she is given.

T: Shannon’s heart is beating with Emilia during this performance and you are right there with her sharing in the anguish. We break as she does. After what has happened, it was never going to be ok.

Miranda

T: Casting Tessa was just perfect for this one. Her voice is so lyrical and her eyes so bright – she really brings out the depth of the character beyond a superficial happy ending. It’s magic.

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V: Tessa’s voice! Such an enchanting and mesmerizing quality. And those eyes! I’m on that island every time with her.

Yorick

V: The way John just jumped in and navigated the text so skillfully! Talk about switching gears…. He grabs you and drags you down into his World and you love him for it.

T: I love John’s performance so much. Yorick is character we had to build from nothing and he continued that process – he pops out of the screen in such an engaging way.

Richard III

T: Richard III is such a well known character that it took something special to make it new – which it is. The balance of righteousness and grief is tricky but is nailed. Great pacing to a great performance.

V: The fact that our incredible Richard came in with so many ideas and willing to play around with styles and shots, it was really about me throwing away my character preconceptions and plans!

The Soothsayer

V: Chris’ crazy. His intensity and crazy Soothsayer eyes. Never lets you off the hook!

T: The intensity that Chris brings to this role is so good and it was lovely to work with an actor that really engaged with the words. It’s dark in a way that fits so well with the character sits beautifully alongside the source text.

Viola

T: Viola was challenging to capture on the page but Peyvand brought her to life in with a softness that really lights up the screen. This one is so moving and beautiful, in spite of a lighter subject.

V: One of the first filmed at Tilly’s and it made us all a bit more relaxed I think, and that gave Peyvand’s Viola ease and simplicity (and wispy hair), which literally took my breath away!

Cleopatra

T: I love how visual this one is. Neil’s face – especially the ‘lined eyes’ which are captivating and the whole thing is shot like a painting. It’s a lovely piece of art.

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V: The edit. I wanted to do Neil & Cleo justice, and I knew it was going to be a long and complex edit unlike anything we’d done. I wanted a story within the story to really showcase the words and Neil’s transformation!

Titania

V: Eliza’s hair. Just kidding. The fun we had making it I think – Eliza just jumped straight in, and again it really infused the atmosphere of the piece and lent it that air of a midsummer night dream…

T: Eliza was a joy to work with – she just brought so much to the character and clearly relished the text. You can see it in her performance, it’s also a joy to watch!

Ophelia

T: Lillian brings such honesty to this role and that is so much a part of Ophelia’s character she is her. Her eyes confronting you and all your assumptions about her death and beauty. It’s such a strong statement, I love it.   

V: Lily’s take on Ophelia. So unexpected and unguarded, cynical and fierce.

Tybalt

V: Owen is another one of those actors that is just incredible simple and honest. It worked so well to create a Tybalt unlike any we’d ever seen. Heartbreaking.

T: Oh Tybalt! It’s so great how Owen captures the dawning comprehension of what he has lost and that while he might not be at fault the way he lived enabled the way he died. Such a waste of life. It’s really sad. 

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Abhorsen

T: There’s a creeping quietness to Richard’s performance that is very sinister. This man lives like no other and knows death like no other – this considered starkness really works in black and white.

V: Richard’s quiet and disquieting threatening performance. Again, it’s nothing you expect, and that’s what makes it interesting.  

Katherina

V: I think Annie is Kate. She had that energy and fight to her, without ever forgetting the love. And her voice is so melodious.

T: Our Kate is very determined and Annie brought such a lovely underlying strength to this performance. She might love him yet, but she’ll do so on her terms. It’s a real pleasure watching the character unfold. Great accent too!

Orlando

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T: Kaiden really embraced the poetry of Victorine’s writing with this one – it’s so lovely and moving the way he tells his story and isn’t afraid to acknowledge how his experience has changed him for the better.

V: Kaiden’s melange of playfulness and quiet introspection. I’ve never let anyone perform my writing before, so it was a big moment to see him do so with such grace and honesty.

Cassandra

T: The darkness of this one is complex and builds. Julia looks so fragile and yet Cassandra is fully embracing her bloody end. It’s a nice dramatic dynamic that really works.

V: The tone. We worked so hard to get it just right, and I think it payed off. Beautiful Julia, threatening words, and a very dark melancholic vibe.

Doll Tearsheet

V: The corset! I jest. But actually, I think it informed Annie’s performance and helped her find more layers to Doll. Softness and seductiveness all meshed together perfectly.

T: Annie brings a nice vulnerability to Doll – it’s an intimate and layered performance. She’s kind of playing the space between ‘I’m fine, get lost’ and ‘please help me’ – it’s a tightrope and she dances beautifully along it.

Lady Macduff

T: A wonderful complete performance here by Tracey. Lady Macduff guides you through every corner of her grief and anger – it’s a record of the unrecorded and a defiant interpretation. She is continually heart breaking in so many different ways.

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V: Tracey was another who came in with so many ideas – I loved that so much! I just said “F**k it” to my plans, and went along for the gut-wrenching ride with her.

Marina (to be released 22nd Aug)

V: I think Marina represents a lot of our whole In Souliloquy journey. There is such simple beauty in this once again – Lydia is a gorgeous storyteller. And no she hasn’t made me cry. Repeatedly.

T: Beautiful. Lydia brought so much to this character, there is such steel in her performance and such power in her delivery of Marina. It’s just means so much – and makes me cry for good reasons! I want to grow up and be Marina.

Don John (to be released 23rd Aug)

T: John nailed Don John and you just believe in his contempt for others, but you also know where that has come from so you root for him. I love how engaged he is, you are going to listen to what he has to say – now he wants to say it.

V: John’s eyes! He is so captivating and inviting – my kind of villain! His focus never relents, it’s amazing.

Thank you to all our wonderful performers. It’s been a true pleasure to have you along for this journey. Love V&T x

 

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Cycle 3 Character Recap!

Today marks the day we start our casting announcements for Cycle 4 – but before we move onto that. Here is a mini recap of who we heard from in Cycle 3.

 

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Katherina In Souliloquy.

tybalt

Tybalt In Souliloquy.

cleo

Cleopatra In Souliloquy.

abhorsen

Abhorsen In Souliloquy.

ophelia

Ophelia In Souliloquy.

titania

Titania In Souliloquy.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this varied collection of voices as much as we have!

Behind the Scenes Cycle 3!

A little selection of the work behind the scenes of shooting Cycle 3 and how fun at times it can be. Thanks again to everyone involved!

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Katherina In Souliloquy.

Katherina In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

This Kate knows well the value of her kisses.

Performed by Annie McKenzie
Written by Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
After William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

In Souliloquy is devised and produced by  Victorine Pontillon and Tilly Lunken.
Katherina In Souliloquy is part of Cycle 3 of In Souliloquy

Music:
Court of the Queen by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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Review: Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Set in 1916 Ireland the Globe’s current production of Taming of the Shrew, is directed by Caroline Byrne and grounded in language and song. This understanding breathes fresh life into the central relationships, the world of the play and fills the theatre with wonderful music. Working with dramaturg to Morna Regan to frame the action with song was a clever way to engage with the text in a contemporary context. It’s then Aoife Duffin’s performance as Katherina who anchors the show – this song rising to bookend each act and her voice soaring up with a strength that we know will never be silenced.

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Often described as a ‘problem’ play due to its seeming acceptance of domestic abuse and misogyny this play is normally updated or tweaked before being presented to a contemporary audience. Are we supposed to find that Petruchio doesn’t feed Kate funny? Is it witty that he won’t let her sleep or wash? It’s clear the text positions this interaction between the newly weds as a game but watching it on a stage is very uncomfortable and actually apart from anything else in this production feels false to his character.

The Petruchio in this version (Edward McLiam) has a whole lot going for him. He has a great beard, great coat, great boots and clearly loves both the idea of Katherina and her feistiness. He wears this quite openly and although he tricks her into a wedding she definitely likes him. No man has ever fought back with wit and strength and responded in kind to her fire – this one does and part of her wants to marry him. The scene where they meet is played out wonderfully – it really feels like a courtship of souls testing each other out.

Which is why I would argue it really doesn’t sit right when he rocks up to the wedding like he does and then proceeds to be horrible to her for ages – like this man as we have met him – would so not do that to that extreme and decay into the disgusting man he does. Petruchio only returns to himself once he puts on his coat again and he drags his new wife back to visit the others. Here, the games are more in actual play rather than downright abusive. I’m really not sure darkening him and the tone so much worked for either developing his character or their relationship – although it does force Kate on a desperate journey. It felt misplaced in contrast to their clear chemistry earlier.

That said when they kiss the entire audience collectively catch their breath at the romance and the interpretation of the speech at the end was great. Having recently studied this in significant depth it was revelatory to see it perform live and consider how other characters reactions (especially Petruchio) shape our understanding of her words. Katherina is no simple woman – she is far more complex and real than us all. Meanwhile while I was sitting there entranced and analysing it my dad was crying – so it hit out on many levels the perfect note.

There were a lot of power shifts that really worked but while I feel there were some beautiful new insights into the central characters, perhaps further interrogation of the midsection of the play might have realised them even more. Perhaps even having them connect too well too early undermined the violence? It’s really interesting that for a production that knocked that last speech by Kate out of the park, the ‘problem’ for me ended up in the middle.

In contrast the rest of the play – the other pair of lovers and the servants are all rather jolly, well performed, endearing and almost incidental. Casting women as the servents worked well and Imogen Doel in particular as Tranio has great fun. Gary Lilburn as Baptista is great as the out of depth patriarch and rival suitor for Bianca, Hortensio is an audience favourite. It is truly a strong ensemble performance. But the drama is where it should be – revolving around the central pair. The ins and outs of how that dynamic plays out is the heart of the play and Caroline Byrne doesn’t step or shy away from that.

Tying everything together all together is the wonderful music – which underscored the play and action beautifully. What is clear (in spite of my reservations) is this production is committed to vision and interpretation and that decision, supported by strong dramaturgical support makes this Taming of the Shrew really sing.

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Four Angry Twitter Shakespeare’s for a most excellent experience and production!  Taming of the Shrew is currently playing. You can book tickets here.

PS. Shakespeare in Irish accents is the best – check out our Juliet in Souliloquy for further proof. Oh and keep your eyes peeled for our Katherina In Souliloquy for #Cycle3 – coming very soon to In Souliloquy. – Tilly x

Introducing: Annie McKenzie as Katherina.

We are delighted to annouce Annie McKenzie will play Katherina (after Taming of the Shrew) for In Souliloquy Cycle 3. This Kate knows well the value of her kisses.

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Since graduating from East 15, Annie has worked on many projects as an actor, writer and director; including Ionesco’s ‘The Bald Prima Donna’, and two seasons of work with all-female Boireannach Theatre Company. Annie’s solo show ‘Happiness is a Cup of Tea’ opens at Pleasance Courtyard on 3rd August as part of 2016’s Edinburgh Fringe, and she has been a part of the Soho Young Company since 2015, working on her first full-length play with dramaturg Chris White. Annie’s thrilled to be working with the In Souliloquy team, and can’t wait to get her teeth into Katherina, one of Shakespeare’s strongest female characters.

Annie is playing a Katherina who knows both herself and her husband well enough to know what their only possible future together can be.