Watch the Evolution of a Performance – Bound Feet Blues [videos]

Watch the evolution of writer Yang-May  Ooi as a performer in these three short videos which capture her performance of Bound Feet Blues in its three incarnations – from the very first scratch night performance in March 2014 to the full production in Nov/ Dec 2015.

March 2014 – Scratch Night, Conway Hall

This is the first ever performance of Bound Feet Blues in public. When Yang-May took to the floor, she was trying out an unfinished script without a director and just seeing where the experience would take her. In the audience was one of the producers of the South East Asian Arts Festival (SEA Arts Fest) who invited her to bring the completed piece to the Festival in Oct that year.

Yang-May captures the drama and tension of that first performance in the book version of Bound Feet Blues, available from Amazon.

Oct 2014 – Showcase, Tristan Bates Theatre

The showcase performance was a one night performance at Tristan Bates Theatre, London that was sold out even before the show was widely publicised on the BBC and elsewhere. The showcase was directed by Jessica Higgs and produced by Eldarin Yeong with R&D funding from Arts Council, England. It was part of the SEA Arts Festival 2014. The performance was 4+ star reviewed and its success enabled Yang-May and her creative team to move forward with the three week full production the next year.

Nov/ Dec 2015 – Full Production, Tristan Bates Theatre

The full production ran for three weeks at the Tristan Bates Theatre. Of the 15 performances, 12 were largely sold out with people queuing for returns. The creative team now included Hua Tan who designed the beautiful set and evocative lighting, costumier Carol Alayne  and production manager Crin Claxton. The production was supported by funding from Arts Council, England, THFC (The Housing Finance Corporation) and Maclay Murray Spens. It was part of the SEA Arts Festival 2015.

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The show run is now over but you can  BUY BOUND FEET BLUES, THE BOOK – please click on the links below:

AMAZON.CO.UK

AMAZON.COM

URBANE PUBLICATIONS

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[Video] Highlights from the 2015 production of Yang-May Ooi’s Bound Feet Blues now up online

We are delighted to share with you highlights from the Nov/ Dec 2015 production of Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, the autobiographical solo theatre piece by writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi. You can watch the 2 min video below.

The show was directed by Jessica Higgs and produced by Eldarin Yeong with set and lighting design by Hua Tan.

The videographer was Continue reading

How we perform our selves in every day life [Bound Feet Blues, the BOOK]

Bound Feet Blues, the BOOK, explores the theme of performance in theatre and in our every day lives, using the metaphor of bound feet and fashion. Writer/ performer and author of the book, Yang-May Ooi, explains why performance fascinates her.

Yang-May writes:

Bound Feet Blues, my memoir in book form, opens at my first staged performance of the theatre version of the Bound Feet Blues story. The first chapter describes what it felt like for me to step out in front of an audience under the spotlights to perform the story of my family and my own life.

That first performance at Conway Hall described in the book was captured on video – highlights below:

Acting and Authenticity

We sometimes mistake performance or acting as inauthentic. We think that acting means pretending to be someone that we are not. Of course that is factually true when actors play a fictional role or are portraying a real person on film or in a play but even then actors always seek to be real and honest in the emotions that they depict. For me, portraying myself and my family on stage, it was deeply important to be authentic to my own story and also theirs. The emotions and story I portrayed were real and truthful within the frame of the drama.

The experience of that performance made me reflect on the performance of my self over the last few decades.

“Performing” My Life

In the book, Bound Feet Blues, I write about how I “performed” the role of a Bright Young Thing in my student days in Oxford, going to balls and dressing as a beautiful “China Doll”. Later, I “performed” the role of a high-achieving lawyer in London in the yuppy atmosphere of the ’80s. When I came out, I “performed” as a boyish lesbian in baggy chinos and lace ups. It was only after all this experimentation that I finally came to be able to express who I really am – a mix of feminine and masculine, sometimes high powered, sometimes slobby and lazy, sometimes beautifully dressed, sometimes not.

Yang-May Ooi at Pride “performing” the tomboy self. This photo is one of many in her book, Bound Feet Blues

How do you “perform” different aspects of your character?

We all perform who we are to some extent. Think about how you show Continue reading

It’s the last night of Bound Feet Blues – but the stories will live on in the BOOK!

Tonight is the last night of writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi’s solo performance of the stage work Bound Feet Blues! But the story does not end here – the book Bound Feet Blues (now available, published by Urbane Publications) will continue the legacy of this astonishing creative work. The BOOK contains the full script of the show PLUS the stories that Yang-May could not fit in to the hour long show.

** Bound Feet Blues is on at the Tristan Bates Theatre for one more show only – tonight Sat 12 December 2015. Don’t miss this “mesmerising” and “powerful” show – there may be some tickets left or as returns so you can  buy tickets below or via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

Rehearsal – Aunty Diana’s tells her story

To conclude our daily blog on the show, here are some highlights from reviews and audience feedback:

“Bound Feet Blues is a warm, funny and groundbreaking exploration of women’s expectations, concerns and desires. With deft strokes, renowned storyteller Yang-May paints a nuanced picture of her coming-out (too-new hiking boots), explores Chinese-Malaysian culture (bare feet, bound feet) and considers the span of generations and mother-daughter-relationships. Her voice is a honed musical instrument, and her performance – a blend of voice and movement – feels like a generous gift.” – Mooky Chick

Performance – “.. I step off into air”

“It was genuinely one of the most moving, engaging and intimate shows I’ve ever seen in a theatre. By coincidence, the previous evening, my wife and I went to see The Winter’s Tale, with Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench; but of the two, Bound Feet Blues was by far the more rewarding and memorable experience!”

“I loved your physicality and performance. The piece was beautifully written – complex, moving, so many layers.”

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BUY THE BOOK from Urbane Publications’ website and use the discount code ‘shoes‘ for 25% off the RRP

Two final performances of Bound Feet Blues tonight Fri 11 Dec and tomorrow Sat 12 Dec

The two final performances of Bound Feet Blues EVER are tonight Fri 11 December and tomorrow Sat 12 December. Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi looks back on her amazing debut on the London stage over the last three weeks as she considers these last two nights when she will be performing Bound Feet Blues for the last time.

Yang-May writes:

Performing Bound Feet Blues has been challenging, terrifying and exhilirating all at the same time.  As a first time performer with no formal drama training, taking to the stage five nights a week for three weeks has been a huge test of my stamina and everything I’ve worked for with director Jessica HIggs in terms of my dramatic abilities. To have pulled it off with 5 star feedback from audiences and terrific reviews in the press has been amazing for me!

** 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 **

In every performance, when we get to the footbinding scene, it is electrifying in the theatre. From the stage, I can sense the utter stillness in the audience as if they are all holding their breath, totally riveted to every word and gesture. There are occasional gasps and winces as the process of the footbinding becomes more and more intense.

I’ve also appreciated the warmth of the audiences as they laugh during the lighter scenes of me as a child and with my family. Their generosity and engagement spur me on each night to give my best performance for them.

As a performer, each night has been special with each different audience and I will always cherish this unique experience of performing in my own show in the heart of London’s West End. As a writer, it has been immensely rewarding to see audiences respond to my words and the drama that I have created for the stage.

I am looking forward to these last two performances which will have a very special meaning for me as the show comes to an end. I will savour each moment even more!

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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 **

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 **

More high praise from audiences who have seen Bound Feet Blues

Audiences who have seen Bound Feet Blues have praised the show in the highest terms. We are delighted to share with you some of their terrific feedback for writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi’s debut solo show:

“Go and see this challenging, affirming and funny one-woman show. One woman .but many characters, all drawn with moving insight”

“Amazing performance”

** 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 **

“Wonderful, so moving and thought provoking and the message is so powerful. I love the way everyone can take it and apply it to some part of their life. I can’t wait to read the book! .. Truly inspiring.”

“Beautifully woven stories” – Kumiko Mendl, Yellow Earth Theatre

“You were absolutely amazing! What a brilliant, powerful performance and such a moving story.”

“It was genuinely one of the most moving, engaging and intimate shows I’ve ever seen in a theatre. By coincidence, the previous evening, my wife and I went to see The Winter’s Tale, with Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench; but of the two, Bound Feet Blues was by far the more rewarding and memorable experience!”

“Fabulous”

“It was a tour de force of your creative spirit, pleasure to witness.”

“I loved it when I saw it on the first night & it was even better this time. I was able to appreciate the richness & depth of your story telling even more.”

“Your story resonated with me & your talent was truly inspiring. Thank you.”

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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 **

Last chance EVER to see Bound Feet Blues this week

As we enter the last week of Bound Feet Blues, this is your last chance EVER to catch the show. Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi has no plans to take the show on tour or revive it in the future as she will be moving on to other creative projects once the show ends.

There’ve been several SOLD OUT nights and people have been queuing for returns for previous shows. The last night 12 December is almost sold out.

If you haven’t already seen this astonishing show, make sure you get your tickets NOW to the last few performances this week – extra availability on Thurs 10th and Fri 11 December.

** 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 **

Don’t take our word for it – here is what some audiences last week have said about Bound Feet Blues:

Stirring, thought provoking, informative, deeply moving, sprinkled with touches of humour this performance is well worth seeing!”
“A great performance … Brilliant!”
“Spent a wonderful evening seeing Yang-May’s stunning show Bound Feet Blues, a solo show about identity and the many paths and footsteps that lead to that identity. Utterly spellbinding and moving, I left feel completely inspired and empowered. Can’t recommend this enough!”

 

 

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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 **

An “entertaining, insightful performance” says Mooky Chick – #BoundFeetBlues

Theatre reviewer Magda Knight has this to say of Bound Feet Blues on the blog, Mooky Chick which is an online magazine for “all those alternative people who don’t want to constrict themselves with a label”:

“Bound Feet Blues is a warm, funny and groundbreaking exploration of women’s expectations, concerns and desires. With deft strokes, renowned storyteller Yang-May paints a nuanced picture of her coming-out (too-new hiking boots), explores Chinese-Malaysian culture (bare feet, bound feet) and considers the span of generations and mother-daughter-relationships. Her voice is a honed musical instrument, and her performance – a blend of voice and movement – feels like a generous gift.”

and…

“It’s heartening that such an entertaining, insightful performance exploring sexual orientation and East Asian culture could happen in the theatre heartland of London’s West End, a place where mainstream commercial shows more typically feature the stories of the white middle-class.”

** 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 **

You can read the full review here

bound-feet-blues-yang-may-ooi-2

 

“I love being able to wiggle my toes!” – 2015 Production Performance Photo, Bound Feet Blues

Following on from Jo Good’s amazement at writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi’s versatile toes during the BBC London interview the other day, we thought we’d share a performance photo from Bound Feet Blues featuring these star quality toes!

** 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 **