Our Work As Seoul Shakespeare Company (SSC)

 

 

From 2015 to 2019, we were the two-person producing, directing, designing, and sometimes acting team behind Seoul Shakespeare Company, with Lauren Ash-Morgan serving as Artistic Director and producer, and Michael Downey as regular stage director.

We first met as actors in SSC's first full production, Macbeth, in 2011, in which we were cast as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and from there became regular SSC actors and board members. When Lauren became SSC's Artistic Director and producer in late 2014, and particularly when Michael began directing, the company went through a dramatic change. Beginning with Much Ado About Nothing, we sought to create a new style for our company: taking our inspiration from Shakespeare’s Globe in London, we began to prioritize continuous action, energetic pacing, minimal sets, vibrant interplay between actors, effective use of music (including live music when possible), full costume construction (based on whatever historical period the play suggested to us), simple props, an attunedness to the language of Shakespeare and an openness to being pulled in the direction shown to us by the text in rehearsals, and creating a feeling of ensemble. Rather than focusing on preconceived messages or ideas that we wanted to convey through a play, we focused on letting each play speak to and through us, giving actors the freedom to follow their instincts, and allowing a plurality of meanings and perspectives to come forth organically in rehearsal. We also prioritized the development of actor training methods, nurturing talented people with a variety of levels of experience and insisting on a degree of excellence to satisfy both actors and audiences. 

 

This is the kind of theatre that excites us, and over time we developed an ensemble of actors who came back from year to year, continuing to hone their instincts, their ability with text, and their ensemble work, while welcoming new actors each year. Because of Korea's visa regulations we would never be allowed to pay the people involved in our shows, so we were by necessity an all-volunteer organization, while maintaining high artistic standards--not just for our own satisfaction but also to keep actors and audience members returning for more. We also made an effort to give our actors high-quality photos and video of each production, and to keep the work at a high level of quality, so that when some of our company members made the leap to seek out a professional career outside Korea, they would be well-prepared and have evidence of the quality of their work in our productions. 


Starting with Titus Andronicus, Lauren also began handling costume design (starting out as a beginner and developing new skills with each production), and with Much Ado she began taking on additional design roles, handling set design, sound design, and musical direction/arrangement/composition in all of SSC's productions. We found that this made it easier to create a coherent, pragmatic, streamlined vision and to develop the designs in tandem with the creation of the show in rehearsals, so that the costumes, set, and sound could be designed to match the performances of the actors. When the theatre community found itself without a lighting designer for King Lear, which Lauren directed, she spent several months learning about lighting design online, gathered a team of actors to help hang and focus lights, and created the lighting design for Lear (and later for Garage and The Orderly).

During this time, we have been learning all aspects of running a small, high-quality, DIY-style theatre company, so that when we eventually leave Korea we will have the knowledge to be able to set up and run this type of company in a new location. We are enjoying some time away from this kind of work--it often felt like we were doing the impossible--but we hope to be able to do full-scale Shakespeare productions again some time in the future, after we have settled in a new home.

 

Take a look at the shows we created--with our brilliant casts, crews, audiences, and donors--below!

Shows we produced as Seoul Shakespeare Company

 

Click on the posters to visit each show's page, where you can see photos, full cast & crew lists, Indiegogo fundraising videos about each production, links to press, etc.

 

All available videos related to productions are available in SSC's Video Archive. 

Photos of all shows, and scans of printed programs, are in SSC's Photo Archive.

King Lear
Seoul Shakespeare Company
Trailer / Fundraising Video / Company Update Video for King Lear
LEAR POSTER FOR ONLINE learRGB.jpg

King Lear (리어 왕)

May 18-June 2, 2019

Theater Egg and Nucleus

Directed and Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Costume, Set, Sound, and Lighting Design by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Musical Composition/Arrangement/Direction by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Fight Choreography by Jason Cutler

Blood effects by Amanda Conkey

Seoul Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare's masterpiece, King Lear.

The final production for our Artistic Director, producer, and actor Lauren Ash-Morgan and regular stage director and actor Michael Downey, after nine years with the company.

Show Page: https://www.seoulshakespearecompany.org/king-lear-2019           

(This show was videorecorded and will eventually be available.) 

The Merchant of Venice
Seoul Shakespeare Company 
Preferred version (white website).jpg

The Merchant of Venice (베니스의 상인)

April 28, 29  May 5, 6, 12, 13, 2018

Theater Egg and Nucleus

Directed by Michael Downey

Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Costume and Set Design by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Musical Composition/Arrangement/Direction by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Lighting Design by John Campbell

"Thou shalt have justice more than thou desirest."

Seoul Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare's deceptively complex play The Merchant of Venice, exploring the themes of mercy and revenge,  prejudice and power, trust and betrayal, and appearance and reality.

Show Page: https://www.seoulshakespearecompany.org/the-merchant-of-venice-2018        

(This show was videorecorded and will eventually be available.) 

Garage
Speech of Fire & Seoul Shakespeare Company (2019)
Seoul Shakespeare Company (2017)
Teaser Trailer
Poster for Garage, less info (this is wh

Garage (차고)

October 14-22, 2017 (Also produced in 2019 as a co-production by SSC and Speech of Fire)

Studio SK

Written by Jason Cutler and the members of Dive Theatre

Directed by Michael Downey

Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Sound Design by Michael Downey and Lauren Ash-Morgan

Lighting Design by Megan Hammond

Blood effects by Lauren Ash-Morgan

"This here's an arena."

 

Seoul Shakespeare Company boldly expands its repertoire and presents Garage, an original, raw, intimate, and uncompromising piece of contemporary theatre.

Show trailer (for the 2019 run, using 2017 footage): 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PbglUpP7tU&feature=emb_logo

 

Show Page (2017): https://www.seoulshakespearecompany.org/garage-oct-14-22-2017-eng    

(This show was videorecorded and can be available upon request.) 

The Winter's Tale
Seoul Shakespeare Company
Teaser Trailer
winter'staleposter_final (4.25 by 6) THI

The Winter's Tale (겨울 이야기)

April 15-30, 2017

Theater Egg and Nucleus

Directed by Michael Downey

Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Costume, Set, and Sound Design by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Musical Composition/Arrangement/Direction by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Lighting Design by Iain C. Culp

Shakespeare's late masterpiece of reconciliation and forgiveness.

One of Shakespeare’s greatest plays: the tragi-comedy and late romance play The Winter’s Tale—a story of jealousy, loss, redemption, forgiveness, and reunion.

 

In a production that both builds upon and contrasts with the innovations of last year’s Much Ado About Nothing, director Michael Downey brings us two contrasting mythicized worlds of a stark, melancholic, and tragic Sicilia and a joyful, pastoral, comedic Bohemia, and a story that moves from the coldness of winter to the warmth and hope of spring.

 

Teaser Trailer for The Winter's Tale full production video: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99BB8AQmFCM&feature=emb_logo

(The full video will eventually be available.)

Show Page: https://www.seoulshakespearecompany.org/up-next-the-winter-s-tale  

Much Ado About Nothing
Seoul Shakespeare Company
Teaser Trailer
Much Ado Poster, downloaded from FB 1195

Much Ado About Nothing (헛소동)

May 21 - June 5, 2016

Theater Egg and Nucleus

Directed by Michael Downey

Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Costume, Set, and Sound Design by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Musical Composition/Arrangement/Direction by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Lighting Design by Iain C. Culp

"This year's production, Much Ado About Nothing, goes in a brand new direction for our company.  In our tradition of alternating between tragedy and comedy, we are swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction from the dark, technically complex Titus of last year to bring audiences a lively, warm, fast-paced, playful experience, with a design and style reminiscent of Elizabethan stage practice." 

Full show video

First Half: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmfuqKGcm-s

Second Half: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqOsBtM5b3k

 

Show Page: https://www.seoulshakespearecompany.org/much-ado-about-nothing-2016

Teaser Trailers for Much Ado full production video: 

(Short teaser) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btzd7udOFXo&feature=youtu.be

(Medium teaser) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99sktMoPoJo&feature=youtu.be

(Long teaser) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmzSC5rjCr0&feature=emb_logo

Love and Despair:
Scenes from Shakespeare
Seoul Shakespeare Company 

Love and Despair: Scenes from Shakespeare 

Program 1: Macbeth (plus a bit of The Tempest)

November 28-29, 2015 

Program 2: Hamlet & Othello (plus a bit of Titus Andronicus and The Tempest)

December 5-6, 2015

Camarata Music Company Studio

Using direction from our original productions, with some new direction by Lauren Ash-Morgan and Michael Downey.

Othello scenes directed by Raymond Salcedo.

Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Lighting Design by Iain C. Culp

Sound Design by Brian MacQueen and Lauren Ash-Morgan

For SSC's 5-year anniversary, we have gathered some of our most prominent actors to revive favorite scenes from our past productions and to explore some new scenes from Othello, focusing on the relationship arcs of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Hamlet and Gertrude, Laertes and Ophelia, Othello and Desdemona, and Trinculo and Stephano in an intimate, bare-bones style production. 

(There is no show page for Love and Despair, but videos can be found in SSC's Video Archive and photos in SSC's Photo Archive.)

Titus Andronicus
Seoul Shakespeare Company
Teaser Trailer
POSTERwKOREAN.jpg
POSTERwKOREAN_Goths.jpg

Titus Andronicus (타이투스 안드로니쿠스)

May 30 - June 14, 2015

Theater Egg and Nucleus

Directed by Raymond Salcedo

Produced by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Costume Design by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Lighting Design by Iain C. Culp

Sound Design by Brian MacQueen

Set Design by David Spadaccini

Fight Choreography by Patrick Foley

"A brutal but beautifully poignant play."

 

We are preparing our fifth mainstage production, Titus Andronicus, which is our most ambitious project to date. With this production we aim to attract larger general audiences and to become more widely recognized as a resource for Shakespeare in Korea.  

Full show video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LfvLKgx_Ik

 

Show Page: 

https://www.seoulshakespearecompany.org/titus-andronicus-2015

Speech of Fire

Theatre Company

스피치 오브 파이어

​극단

Contact Us:  speechoffire@gmail.com 

Current Location: Seoul, South Korea

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