The Hen Comes Out of the Yard

Yesterday I met up with the cast of The Hen Comes Out of the Yard after their late night performance at the Corpus Playroom. We had planned to do a quick photo shoot with a few selected scenes from the play, but it turned into a two-hour session.

The play by Sun-mi Hwang, has been translated and adapted by Min Ji Choi. From Camdram:

This is the story of a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and an acacia tree blooms. She comes up with a plan to escape into the wild—and to hatch an egg of her own.
An anthem for freedom, individuality and motherhood featuring a plucky, spirited heroine who rebels against the dogmatised world of the barnyard and embraces her perils with love, ‘the hen comes out of the yard’ is a story of universal resonance that is a reflection on society, nature and the world at large.

Here is a selection of the photos from our photo shoot. I got help from Wendy to write the captions of the first set of photos.

 

“If I can’t lay an egg, what’s the point of my life?”

 

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The play opens with Sprout in the garden by the beautiful cherry blossom tree.
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Greenie returns home after months of wandering. Such an angsty teen.
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An everyday mother-daughter quarrel.
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Not able to lay eggs anymore, Sprout is culled and left to die.
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The weasel approaches, ready to strike.
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Straggler jumps into the scene, protecting Sprout.
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Stand-off!
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The weasel is ready to reap the lives of powerless chickens with her scythe.
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The barn animals do not seem pleased by appearance of Sprout seeking shelter.
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“What’s the matter? We can just give her a corner.”
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Rooster, the ruler, and Straggler, the outcast.
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Straggler no longer answers Sprout’s cry for help
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Appearance of the White Duck.
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Their egg —
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— left behind, with the death of White Duck, to be found by Sprout.
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“My long-lost baby!”
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Straggler returns, covered in blood… what happened?
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Sprout’s too afraid to ask.
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“Sprout, you’re going to be a wonderful mother.”
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You have to.”
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Finishing the story, Sprout puts her daughter to bed. Like old times.
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The Leader Duck and the Barn Hen aren’t impressed…
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“Ha! A culled chicken couldn’t have laid an egg!”
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“We’ve got a big family. Let us help. Don’t make your life difficult.”
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Sprout doesn’t seem to agree with that.
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The weasel comes back.
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“Merciful? Do you really have the right to use that word?”
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The weasel’s just a mother too, trying to feed her babies.

After finishing photographing the scenes the cast switched back into goofing off mode.

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Which side is up, and which is down?
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Hao and Martin
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Min Ji Choi (Wendy), Hao Feng, Eileen Hou, Martin Randak, Anastasia Picton, Amy Malone and Megan Dunne.
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A more crazy version of the group photo.
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Amy and Eileen
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Amy and Eileen
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I used one of the stools to get a higher angle for the photo.
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They had a beautiful umbrella which casts a wonderful shadow, and we started to experiment with the shadow on Wendy.
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By moving in closer and having part of the umbrella in front of the lens, we get this soft white light to the left.
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A similar portrait of Amy.
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Here I moved away from the umbrella. The black behind here was too monotone, so I added a texture to the photo.
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You can not clean up the feathers on the floor without having a bit of fun…
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Feathers look great when backlit and floating in midair. The leap from floating to jumping was not very big. This photo was tricky to get the timing right. I almost got it right, Hao’s feet were even higher up at the peak.
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The umbrella cast a beautiful shadow on the floor.
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In Corpus playroom it does not rain in the normal sense.
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There is so much you can do with feathers. This was just a test shot to see how they would look coming out of a bucket.
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Wrapping up the photo shoot, Amy puts away the last few feathers.

It was fun to photograph the play, but I really liked how we switched gear and got really creative once the first part was done. Many thanks to the cast and crew for a fun evening!

– Johannes

Reviews: The Cambridge Student (6/10), Varsity (2.5/5)

Cast
Straggler – Hao Feng
Weasel, Barn Hen, White Duck – Megan Dunne
Sprout – Amy Malone
Greenie – Eileen Hou
Leader Duck, Coop Hen, Farmer’s Wife – Anastasia Picton
Rooster, Farmer – Martin Randak

Production Team
Producer – Sebastian Constantine
Director – Min Ji Choi
Associate Director – Nicholas Ashurst
Technical Director, Script Advisor – Eli Keren
Set Advisor – Emily Larcombe
Stage Manager – Miz Hashimoto
Composer – Marcus Martin
Photographer – Johannes Hjorth

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