The Sounding’s
Silence and Shakespeare

2017 Cinequest Film and VR Festival

Having its World Premiere at Cinequest, The Sounding (2016) is a searing psychological drama directed by Catherine Eaton and co-written with Bryan Delaney from her play.

From Michael Rabehl’s program notes:

Liv (Catherine Eaton) has lived a life in silence on a remote island off the coast of Maine, where she’s been raised by her grandfather Lionel (Harris Yulin). When Lionel discovers he will soon die, his concern for Liv’s future leads him to call upon a neurologist, his former protege, Michael (Teddy Sears), in hopes he will protect Liv. But, when Michael overhears Liv break her silence–weaving her own language from Shakespeare’s words—he commits her to a psychiatric hospital. It is within those halls where Liv cannot be contained, where her rebellious nature causes her to become increasingly violent, and where a final emotional showdown will take place.

Mesmerizing and mysterious, the film begins in the natural world on an island with sandy beaches and rushing waves. Liv is seemingly unspoiled, a beautiful child of nature like the boy in François Truffaut’s The Wild Child (1970)]. Liv’s silence is likely a respite for Michael from the relentless verbiage of the outside world. Is she also a specimen for study like the real life Mowgli in Truffaut’s film?

In The Sounding, Liv’s case has the psychiatrists baffled. They rule out the usual maladies. One they don’t mention, Echolalia, is a condition sometimes exhibited by people on the autistic spectrum, but there’s a lack of comprehension of the meaning of the words. Conversely, Liv has a singular understanding of Shakespeare’s language. It’s her way of expressing what’s inside of her and a means of resistance.

Janet Margolin and Keir Dullea

In David and Lisa (1962), Lisa (Janet Margolin) suffers from a split personality disorder. One personality can speak only in rhyme and the other cannot speak at all. She’s helped by David (Keir Dullea), a fellow patient, and a caring psychiatrist played by Howard Da Silva. 

For Liv, the doctors are also well-intentioned but seem constrained by protocol. This isn’t One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975). Unlike Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy, she’s been offered a way out of the locked facility with just a word. They have Liv’s best interests at heart or do they?

Cast and crew Q&A Cinequest © Crimson Kimono

For the complete creative team, click here

The last screening at Cinequest is Friday March 10, 2:15 PM