The Ides! The Ides! The Continuing Relevance of The Soothsayer.

Don’t want to stress you out but this it’s the Ides of March and you’d better beware of your besties and their swords if you’re a general with eyes on a greater throne. Listen to your people.

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy from In Souliloquy on Vimeo.

And then reflect.

Does this piece have more meaning at this time of year? Has our shifting political context given new understanding to these words? Where does this voice sit in our collection?

The continuing relevance of your work is something we writers of theatre think a lot about. There is a tendency in the ‘New Writing’ scene (particularly in London) to write contemporary, immediate and responsive work to the world we are currently experience – which is great. But the cute satirical short play ‘Flood’ I wrote a couple of Australian Prime Ministers Ago doesn’t really belong on a 2017 stage.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had the same work performed more than once and it’s fantastic. I LOVE IT. ‘Fresh Legs’ was produced in both 2015 and 2016 and was an absolute joy to watch develop with both production teams. I think a writer should embrace the form and part of the form is for a work to exist in many different ways.

Theatre is also is about revisiting texts. It’s about rediscovering the new in performance and about interpretations. Nothing is fixed and it can and should exist in many forms. We are looking to explore how this can manifest digitally (see Snout!).

With Shakespeare we get a lot of productions of a lot of texts. This of course means we get snooty critics getting hot under the collar about casting or people getting political about the use of lighting in a traditional space – but it also means we can do ALL of this and more. There are post-colonial versions, queer reinterpretations, puppetry – we might be celebrating 401 years this year but these texts are so alive.

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So are ours. We hope. Not just on the Ides.

This year alongside making new work well be revisiting some of our existing texts #InSouliloquyRevisited and continuing to play and develop what Digital Theatre can mean.

Meantime rewatch Chris Rogers’ great performance as the Soothsayer and think about that lost Empire and what we live now.

x Tilly x

 

 

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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

 

Get Mugging! Behind the Scenes Cycle 2.

From our first day of shooting Cycle 2 – some photos by Jennifer Hook of our lovely cast members having fun. Shhhhh. Don’t mention the skulls!

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Miranda. (Who is a secret trekkie)

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Yorick – for all your skull requirements.

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The Soothsayer – because being creepy makes people listen!

 

 

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy.

With horrible inevitability, he must keep speaking.

Performed by Chris Rogers
Written by Tilly Lunken
Directed by Victorine Pontillon
After William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Special thanks to Steven Levy, the Charing Cross Theatre, Jennifer Hook and Chris Rogers.

The Soothsayer In Souliloquy is part of Cycle 2 of In Souliloquy.
In Souliloquy is devised and produced by V&T
@insouliloquy

Music:
Satiate Strings by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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Introducing: In Souliloquy Cycle 3 Characters!

Here are our  wonderful characters for cycle 3!

Yorick.

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No one truly knows another well.

  • Written by Tilly Lunken
  • Directed by Victorine Pontillon
  • Performed by John Last

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Miranda.

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A Princess who’s lasting happiness is tempered by the sea.

  • Written by Tilly Lunken
  • Directed by Victorine Pontillon
  • Performed by Tessa Hart

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Richard III.

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This King seeks not redemption but to redress his foul memory.

  • Written by Tilly Lunken
  • Directed by Victorine Pontillon

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Viola.

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Finding who you are when you are not who you are makes a fine song.

  • Written by Tilly Lunken
  • Directed by Victorine Pontillon
  • Performed by Peyvand Sadeghian

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The Soothsayer.

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Even knowing the horrible inevitability, he must keep speaking.

  • Written by Tilly Lunken
  • Directed by Victorine Pontillon
  • Performed by Chris Rogers

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Emilia.

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

  • Written by Tilly Lunken
  • Directed by Victorine Pontillon
  • Performed by Shannon Howes

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Introducing: Chris Rogers as The Soothsayer.

We are delighted to announce Chris Rogers will be playing The Soothsayer (after Julius Caesar) for the second cycle of In Souliloquy.

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Image: Rosalind Alcazar

Chris has been working in theatre and film for over fifteen years. Trained in music at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts his credits include Mr Smith in “The Bald Primadonna” for The Poor Players Company, Antiphalus of Syracuse in “The Comedy of Errors”, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in ”Twelfth Night”, Roderigo in “Othello” and Clarence in “Richard III” for the Cambridge Shakespeare company, Lucentio in “The Taming of the Shrew” for The Original Theatre Company, Lysander in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” for Lord Strange’s Men and he is the only person ever to have played the Evil Prince in the world premiere of Frank Zappa’s musical “Thing Fish”,

His feature films include “The Empty Plan” and “Stag Hunt” and he has worked for international broadcasters like the BBC, the History Channel, and The Discovery Channel in various television dramas.

Chris is the head of Off the Curb Productions, creating film and theatre himself, and his experience ranges from Open Air and small theatres to the largest theatrical stage in the world at the Bregenz Opera Festival.

Chris plays The Soothsayer, a man who in spite of the horrible inevitability of it all must keep speaking.