The Fall of June Bloom (or What You Will)

by Flloyd Kennedy and William Shakespeare

  an original play combining Shakespeare with contemporary language (prose and poetry),

  a tragi-comic story offering a new kind of immersive theatrical encounter

Dame June Bloom, world renowned actor and voice expert is about to deliver one of the most insightful lectures she has ever given. “With whose voice does Shakespeare speak”? When the lecture raises more questions than she bargained for,  June is forced by an outspoken stranger to wade through her failing memory. The stranger seeks clarity and closure, which June struggles to provide. Confounded by a growing sense of madness June tries to cling to her knowledge of the voice, but what happens when it is the voice that is contributing to the madness?

Blending cultures and making the world smaller, this production examines people and communication with humour and care. Classic language and modern expression come together, delicately, to create an involving and uplifting experience.

The Fall of June Bloom (or What You Will) represents theatre for the twenty-first century, combining Shakespearean text with heightened contemporary language (prose and poetry) to create a new kind of immersive theatrical encounter. The audience is warmly invited to engage with the topic and the characters, or they are free to sit back and be entertained without any pressure to become more involved. The topic is both amusing and thoughtful, the performance is powerfully moving and extremely funny.

2011: Phoenix Fringe Festival, and at Estrella Mountain Community College

J and J Phoenix 134

We also played to an audience of two, in Mary Louise Espinosa’s bedroom.

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The Phoenix production featured Flloyd Kennedy as June, and Lauren Dykes (Laine) in the newly revised role of Jenna. (photos: Sandy Ritson)

Brisbane 2010: The Brisbane production featured Flloyd Kennedy (June) and Tony Brockman (Jerome)

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New York 2009: The Fall of June Bloom (or What You Will), was also presented as a work in progress entitled “Shakespeare’s Voice – Whose Voice?” in New York, at the VASTA conference on Tuesday August 4 2009, with Flloyd Kennedy (June), John Graham (Jerome) and Micha Espinosa (Kate), directed by Judi Lehrhaupt.

stills from VASTA June Bloom 2323

(stills extracted from video recording)

Thunder’s Mouth Theatre would like to thank the following for their support, advice and encouragement in bringing The Fall of June Bloom into being:

Nigel Bell, Tony Brockman, Therese Collie, Micha Espinosa, Prof. Richard Fotheringham, John Graham, Gillian Kehoul, Judi Lehrhaupt, Vanja Matula, Mark Metzger, Aole T Miller, Allana Noyes, Kris Plowman, Sue Rider, Ira Seidenstein, Sue Smith, Krystal Sweedman, Dr Joanne Tompkins, Jeff Turpin, Anna Yen

Brisbane Magdalena, ASDA, VASTA, EMSAH

For the Phoenix Fringe Festival production we would also like to thank Estrella Mountain Community College, Dave Montgomery, Rich and Cliff from Space 55, The Trunk Space, Michelle Burchfield, Ashley Naftule, and all at the Phoenix Fringe Festival

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AUDIENCE RESPONSE TO THE FALL OF JUNE BLOOM (OR WHAT YOU WILL)

Phoenix – 2011: (Estrella Mountain Community College, Film and Theatre students)

“Half the performance was an older woman struggling with identity issues and finding out where she belonged, and the other half was a young, sassy, stubborn college student interested in learning and probing into the lecturer’s life. Although their manners of speaking were the same at times, in the sense that they had steady voices, good projection, etc., they brought such different life experiences, ways of looking at things, and quirks in personality to the shared performance, that the contrast was well appreciated and understood.”

“the performance was intriguing and fascinating to execute a piece with Shakespearean presentation to the works of today’s realism took courage and a convincible aura of personality to be successful.”

“The play was set up as a classroom in a way. June Bloom was the teacher and we the audience were the students. I felt it was a very informal performance based on the relationship she established with the audience. The actress interacted with the audience on numerous occasions which gave the play a dimension I had never seen before.”

“I enjoyed the overall play because I had never been to performance like this one. It was something completely different which intrigued me. Both performers acted with great intelligence, emotion, and passion. It was a very impressive performance that I would definitely suggest to anyone.”

Brisbane – 2010: “This was for me, one of the most engaging and rewarding pieces of theatre I have seen for a very long time. I found it startlingly and brilliantly unsafe. A pretend lecture on Shakespeare became an edge of your seat experience… This is not a performance. This is not a lecture. This is now… What Flloyd has captured is the importance of that all pervading, all-powerful question that (at least for me) all great theatre is based on – ‘What Happens Next’?” Matthew Ryan (Brisbane)

“Just seen the extraordinary, subtle, arresting and amazing production of ‘The Fall of June Bloom’. For anyone who loves theatre, words and Shakespeare, it’s a must!” Heather Jones (Brisbane)

New York – 2009: “I want to thank you again for your performance — both the text and the acting.  It was thoroughly engaging, thought provoking, fascinating and charming.  Entertaining without being didactic, it wrestled with the complex concepts of the power of language.”

“Talking about what the “Big name” teachers were talking about AND demonstrating it, as a teacher AND embodying it fully (as good acting does, must) And reflecting on all of those layers – simultaneously – BRILLIANT!”
“It was wonderful how you crossed over, if you will, from contemporary language into Shakespeare’s so seamlessly to give it that accessibility.”
“Well done!  You have created a body of work that is successful on not only a superficial level, but also requires us to sit quietly and really address the fundamentals of how we inhabit/interpret/channel.   I loved the theatricality of the “presentation” – You used your voice/body as the instrument should, in my opinion, be used.  You “sang off the text” as we say – and also inhabited the words, without any over histrionic effect.  The flow between Shakespeare’s words and your own was almost seamless.” 

New York – Performing the World – 3 October, 2008
“I was comfortably confused throughout! I loved not being quite sure what was ‘real’ and what was ‘acted’”

“This would be wonderful for young people, it really shows how important the voice is”

“The play highlights how we can work across generations and across cultures, bringing them together”

Dunedin – University of Otago – 2 July, 2008

“it’s Hugely funny. And I love the bits of technical voice stuff. And I love the discussion about the voice, and Shakespeare, the way words are used”
“the way it jumped around, it was much more a collage of different lengths, and suddenly slid into a completely different mode, spatially, and verbally. For me, as a non-actor, I thought that was really interesting, although you weren’t dancing, it had a choreographic sense to it, and I liked that rhythmic aspect of it”

Brisbane – Magdalena Easter Gathering – 2008
“I loved the swing from strength to vulnerability in Flloyd’s character!”
“What I found interesting were the intellectual concepts – valid theories and philosophies, the density and journey of the language”
“Weaving Shakespeare’s text with contemporary language was really, really interesting! So was the student emerging from the audience and the negotiating of roles. It also challenged me to think about Grief”
“The power of the performance was carried securely by excellent performances”
“I loved the open ended mystery of the ‘lost’ son, the ideas around “who owns words/thoughts?, and what is madness?”