SPEECH OF FIRE
Lauren Ash-Morgan and Michael Downey in
Shakespeare's Love and Despair: Macbeth, Seoul Shakespeare Company
"I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze..."
--Laertes, Hamlet, Act 4 Scene 7
We are an acting/directing/producing/designing/teaching duo, currently located in Seoul.
Current SOF News
There are many great anti-racist resources available right now. For anyone not sure where to find them, we have been compiling a list on our website. Click on the link or the button below.
June 12, 2020
Black Lives Matter. Period.
At this moment in history, even amidst the loss and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, nothing else feels as urgent as this movement, and it is important for us to pause our usual social media activities so that we can focus on bearing witness to what is happening and doing what we can for the Black Lives Matter movement.
We have been compiling a list of links to resources on our website (https://www.speechoffire.org/blm-antiracist-resources), including:
-links to leading organizations in the Black Lives Matter movement
-articles on anti-racism
-lists of anti-racist resources
-some theatre resources, including lists compiled by American Theatre of black theatre companies and relevant plays
-things to watch, listen to, and read
Between all the lists of resources within our list, there is a LOT there, but we’ll continue adding to it. Feel free to let us know of other important resources to add. Personally, we are finding the page helpful as we try to keep track of lasting, high-quality resources to keep coming back to while also keeping up to date with the barrage of news.
Over the years, we've found that harnessing the power of Shakespeare's language provides an outlet for whatever grief and pain we may be feeling, leading us perhaps toward some kind of meaning, however imperfect. In that spirit, we have shared in our social media, and on our home page, five quotes from Shakespeare’s plays that have sprung to mind this week. They resonate deeply with us right now, and perhaps they may with others, in this time of swirling grief, anger, and hope.
-Lauren and Michael
Stay Home. Stay Connected.
One of the reasons we love what we do is because theatre, whether it’s in a workshop or in a performance, brings people together and reconnects us with each other. In this unprecedented time, we are seeing particularly clearly the importance of human connection.
And while we at Speech of Fire are fortunate in that we are just starting out and were planning a quiet, relaxing Spring of teaching and writing (our first spring in nine years not doing a Shakespeare production as Seoul Shakespeare Company!), other theatres around the world are facing huge financial struggles, and theatre artists are finding themselves without a livelihood. At the same time, theatre artists are finding innovative ways to keep art alive amid the struggle, and some theatre companies are finding ways to reach new audiences through generous sharing of their productions and other resources online.
So in place of our Spring acting classes, we are focusing right now on supporting our friends and colleagues around the world whose theatre companies are asking for support as well as those who are finding innovative ways to keep reaching audiences and keep theatre alive. We’ll also be sharing some of our favorite resources that have influenced us and that can bring us together as humans.
Stay home. Stay connected.
Together, we can overcome this crisis.
-Lauren Ash-Morgan and Michael Downey
Founding Co-Artistic Directors, Speech of Fire
We'll be sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Want something to watch while stuck at home?
Although the live theatre world has shut down for the time being, many theatre companies are finding ways to reach audiences through filmed productions of their current and past shows. During our time leading Seoul Shakespeare Company, we prioritized filming our productions for future release to the public, and our 2016 production of Much Ado About Nothing is already available, with more productions to come in the future.
You can stream Much Ado About Nothing, which was our first production as a directing-producing-designing team, for free on Youtube:
Much Ado Teaser
Much Ado 1st half
Much Ado 2nd half
We created this production as Seoul Shakespeare Company (SSC) in 2016, and it began a new era in our company’s style that we continued for the next three years with our productions of The Winter’s Tale (2017), The Merchant of Venice (2018), and King Lear (2019). After Lear, we passed Seoul Shakespeare Company on to its current leaders, so that it can remain in the Seoul community while we prepare to move away. We hope someday to be able to do these kinds of full-scale productions again as our new entity, Speech of Fire, after settling in a new location.
This production of Much Ado About Nothing was Michael's directorial debut. Lauren served as the company’s Artistic Director and producer as well as designing and constructing the costumes and set, designing the sound, and composing and/or arranging the songs. Lauren is also in the cast (as Beatrice). These and all the company’s videos were edited and color corrected by Lauren. The video and audio for Much Ado were recorded by Double Vision Media Liaisons.
Full cast and crew listings can be found in the video’s end credits and on the Much Ado About Nothing show page (along with photos, links to press, etc).
Lauren is in the process of editing our productions of The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and King Lear, but they will be out eventually! Teaser for The Winter’s Tale below. (Contains spoilers!)
Spring Acting Classes Postponed
All our acting classes are currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, but we may offer online classes in late 2020/early 2021. When we are ready to offer classes (either online or offline), we will announce on our Speech of Fire Home Page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email list.
In the meantime, check out what we had planned below.
Speech of Fire's
Spring 2020 Acting Classes
Spring Session 1: April 5-26 (Postponed until further notice)
Spring Session 2: May 17-June 7 (Postponed until further notice)
Movement & Ensemble
Acting Shakespeare's Text
Rehearsing Shakespearean Monologues & Scenes
Speech of Fire is currently focused on building a repertoire of small, mobile shows that can be revived, tour, and travel in the future.
Repertoire so far (can be performed in rep or separately):
"Hospitals are battlefields."
Mind must be the firmer,
heart the more fierce,
courage the greater,
as our strength diminishes.
Written and performed by Michael Downey
Directed by Lauren Ash-Morgan
Appropriate for all ages, aside from a few curse words.
Approximate running time: 1 hour
"Quality work… solo theatre as it should be."
"This here's an arena."
An original, raw, intimate, and uncompromising piece of contemporary theatre.
Written by Jason Cutler and the members of Dive Theatre
Starring Jason Cutler, Jamie Horan, and Lauren Ash-Morgan
Directed by Michael Downey
Content warnings: Adult language, sexual themes, physical violence.
Not appropriate for children.
Approximate running time: 1 hour
New York Theatre Review
Speech of Fire is proud to be a member of The Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA).
For more information visit www.stahome.org.
STA was established to provide a forum for the artistic, managerial, educational leadership for theatres primarily involved with the production of the works of William Shakespeare; to discuss issues and methods of work, resources, and information; and to act as an advocate for Shakespearean productions and training.