The Other Solos
Introduction by Patricia Rodríguez
As a freshly imported arrival, there was this one thing you suspected that would eventually be corroborated by someone native: Your accent will determine many aspects of our life, decisively. Although I remained largely unaware of the kind of scrutiny we were subject to, this code of elocutionary classification was new, it felt important, so I dutifully tried to improve my pronunciation.
The irony was that, even if I neutralised my foreign accent, I would have to choose another one. Worst of all, I would never really feel what it actually sounded like. A speaker of a language acquired after adolescence cannot sense some subtle attributes in speech. We can definitively perceive sounds, hear differences in tone, but not the ultimate and complete emotive persona that pronunciation infers in someone’s voice. I stopped trying.
Years later, being a foreigner became unexpectedly topical and charged. We came together under our otherness to ask what Shakespeare had to say about the stranger’s case, suffering tribes, banishment and general ownership of islands. We wondered how the iambic pentameter might sound if his foreign characters spoke in their natural accent instead of in received pronunciation. We wondered but not for too long, and we filmed these.
The Other Solos is a series of Shakespeare monologues that deal with issues of identity, migration, power and exile, performed by actors whose mother tongue is not English.
Patricia Rodríguez is a Spanish writer, she is the author of 19 Pulgadas and La Huida Inversa