Doing the Unimaginable – Bound Feet Blues at the Oxford Literary Festival

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi will be featured at the Oxford Literary Festival in a solo event as part of the St Hilda’s Writers Day on Saturday 09 April. Yang-May will perform an extract from Bound Feet Blues and talk about Doing the Unimaginable – how and why women in China practiced the brutal process of footbinding on their daughters for a thousand years.

Yang-May writes:

I’m delighted to have been invited back to Oxford by my old college St Hilda’s as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. Bound Feet Blues opens in Oxford as I stroll across Magdalen Bridge from St Hilda’s to a summer ball with a gang of my friends in our ball gowns with our boyfriends in black tie. So it feels just perfect to be heading back to Oxford to talk about my show and the accompanying book of the same name.

Here’s some blurb:

The brutal practice of footbinding is unimaginable to us today but was the norm for women in ancient China. In her one woman show Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, inspired by her great-grandmother who had bound feet, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi explores what led those women to do the unimaginable in breaking and binding their daughters’ feet for the sake of beauty – and why footbinding is still relevant in modern times. In this talk for St Hilda’s Writers Day, she draws from the themes of love and courage in her theatre piece to discuss what it means to do the unimaginable as mothers, daughters and creative artists today. Yang-May will also be performing a short extract from the show.

There’ll also be the chance to buy a copy of the book – and I’ll of course be around to sign your personal copy.

Bound Feet Blues performance photo: Yang-May uses her hands on stage to demonstrate footbinding

If you’re in the Oxford area on Saturday 09 April, it would be lovely to see you at this one hour event. If you’d like to say hello afterwards, please do drop me a line and I’ll keep an eye out for you – or just come up and say “hi”.

If you know anyone in the Oxford area who might be interested to come along, please do tell them about the event. It would be great to see some warm and friendly faces in the crowd.

EVENT DETAILS:

Bound Feet Blues: Doing the Unimaginable – Yang-May Ooi

When: Saturday 09 April 2016, 12pm (1 hour)

Where: Jesus College, Oxford – Lecture Theatre

Tickets: £12

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

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If you can’t make it you can still Continue reading

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How Yang-May Ooi’s great grandmother with bound feet inspired Bound Feet Blues [video]

In the  video below, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi tells the story of her great-grandmother that inspired her to write Bound Feet Blues.

Yang-May writes:

The show was only one hour long so I made certain artistic choices in portraying my great-grandmother in the theatre performance. Her story is incomplete in the show because I wanted the audience to stay with the moment of transformation rather than seeing how her story ends.

The book of Bound Feet Blues takes great-grandma’s story and extends and deepens it at the more leisurely pace that a long read can offer. So for those of you who Continue reading

28 Days in the Writing, A Lifetime in the Making – Bound Feet Blues, the BOOK [video]

Author Yang-May Ooi talks about how she was able to write the book, Bound Feet Blues – all 420 pages of it! – in 28 days.

This groundbreaking family and personal memoir was a lifetime in the making. The stories span several generations, going back to the young boy who was kidnapped by bandits and the young woman with bound feet who ran away from an unhappy marriage. Yang-May interweaves these ancestral tales with her own personal story as she learns what it takes to become her own woman.

In this video, she gives us a flavour of the book and shares her creative process in bringing these stories to life.

TO BUY THE BOOK, click on the links below:

AMAZON.CO.UK

AMAZON.COM

URBANE PUBLICATIONS – special 25% discount code: shoes

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi demonstrates footbinding on stage in Bound Feet Blues

Bound Feet Blues explores the psychological impact of the ancient Chinese practice of footbinding – and uses it as a metaphor to explore our psyche as modern women in search of feminine desirability and empowerment.

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi demonstrates the brutal process of footbinding on stage in a horrifying sequence that has the whole audience holding their breath in utter silence – using no more than her hands and the audience’s imagination.

This week is your last chance to catch this mesmerising solo show so don’t miss out ….

** Bound Feet Blues is NOW ON  at the Tristan Bates Theatre until Sat 12 December 2015. Don’t miss this “mesmerising” and “powerful” show – buy tickets below or via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

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BUY TICKETS

**You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden WC2H 9NP

Tue 24 Nov – Sat 12 Dec, Tue – Sat at 7.30pm.
Tickets £16 / £12 concessions.
Q&As post-show, 27 Nov & 4 Dec.

**BUY ONLINE via: bit.ly/bfbtickets **

“This was not the life I was meant to have…” – Bound Feet Blues Performance Photo

In Bound Feet Blues, writer/ performer tells the story of her great-grandmother in China who had bound feet. This performance photo from the showcase night in Oct last year, shows Yang-May enacting a scene of this bound foot woman from her family’s history: “This was not the life I was meant to have…!”

** Bound Feet Blues is NOW ON  at the Tristan Bates Theatre until Sat 12 December 2015. Don’t miss this “mesmerising” and “powerful” show – buy tickets below or via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

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BUY TICKETS

**You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre Continue reading

Introducing the landscape of Bound Feet Blues – Malaysia, where writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi grew up

The setting of Bound Feet Blues ranges from Oxford in England to China and the Australian Outback – and to Malaysia, the childhood home of writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi. We are sharing with you some of these landscapes here on this blog.

Many of the scenes in Bound Feet Blues depict Yang-May as a child running barefoot in the garden and spending time with her family.  To give you a feel of that lush tropical landscape that forms the central heart of the show, here are some photos of gardens in Malaysia and of Kuala Lumpur, Yang-May’s hometown.

 

Garden, Kuala Lumpur – from flickr.com (CCL) https://www.flickr.com/photos/smarterwithin/

 

Garden, Kuala Lumpur – via Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/412079434624710326/

 

Malaysia – contrast of East and West – from flickr.com (CCL) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/hagens_world/

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**You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

Continue reading

One week to the opening night of Bound Feet Blues! Have you got your ticket yet?

Yang-May Ooi’s astonishing one woman show Bound Feet Blues will open in one week’s time on Tuesday 24 November 2015 at Tristan Bates Theatre. Have you got your ticket yet?

Not yet? Don’t miss this extra-ordinary tour de force solo performance. You can still buy tickets via bit.ly/bfbtickets

Bound Feet Blues takes us back to ancient China to the inner chamber of a mother with bound feet as she describes and demonstrates the brutal practice of footbinding on her daughter. We may judge this in our modern times as cruel but if we were women living in that time, would we do the same out of love for our little girl?

We also see Yang-May as a tomboy aged 10 and as Continue reading

Introducing the landscape of Bound Feet Blues: The Inner Chamber of a Bound Foot Mother

In Bound Feet Blues, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi takes us to a a diverse range of settings and times – from Oxford in England to the Australian Outback, and also the landscape of ancient China. We are giving you a glimpse into these different places here on this blog over the next few weeks.

In a central scene in Bound Feet Blues, Yang-May demonstrates on stage the gruelling process of footbinding on a little girl.  So, today, we introduce you to the inner chamber of a mother with bound feet where such a process would have most likely taken place.

The home was a woman’s domain in ancient China. Within that was the inner chamber, a private space for the women of the household only. There the women would sew and read and tell stories. And  also probably carry out the ritual of footbinding on the daughters of the family.

Women at home – thanks http://depts.washington.edu/

Woman, Qing Dynasty – thanks to http://www.elegantstory.com/, via Pinterest

Women with bound feet via Pinterest

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You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden WC2H 9NP

Tue 24 Nov – Sat 12 Dec, Tue – Sat at 7.30pm.
Tickets £16 / £12 concessions.
Q&As post-show, 27 Nov & 4 Dec.

 

In Memory of “Walter Plinge” – archive audio interview An Actor’s Life for the London Theatre Blog from 2006

Yang-May Ooi writes:

My dear friend “Walter Plinge”,  a retired actor, passed away a few weeks ago.

I interviewed him in 2006 on my Fusion View podcast for the London Theatre Blog and in his memory, I am publishing again the podcast in its entirety below. He talks about his life as a repertory actor in the 1950s. It is a fascinating journey into history and into the craft of acting for anyone who is interested in theatre – and a lovely way for me to remember “Walter”, especially his warm, resonant voice that has a touch of Anthony Hopkins to it.

Click on the image below for the pop up player to listen to the interview. (To return to this page from the player, click the Back button on your browser)

walter plinge player

 

See 5,000 pairs of tiny lotus shoes at the Museum of Shoes for Bound Feet – Women’s History Month

The Museum of Shoes for Bound Feet re-opened this year after a fire closed it last year. It would be fascinating to visit it as part of my Bound Feet Blues project but it is in Anren Town of Dayi County, in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

The press info states:

“In addition to the everyday shoes, the museum also displayed “special-occasion” shoes, which women with bound feet were to wear at wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and funerals as well as rain boots and high-top boots.”

 

I love the way they have displayed some of the shoes – as in the photo above – as if in a modern Continue reading