18 November 2012
Titbits and topsyturvies
It’s intensely visual imagery and a joyous, accepting look at life in a small Welsh village. Under Milkwood is by Dylan Thomas. It’s famed, it’s studied, it’s filmed. DT wrote it in 1953 and it was first read in that year, and incidentally recorded at the first reading, with DT appearing as the First voice just two weeks before his death. It’s set in the village of Llareggub (read it backwards). It’s the story of umpteen people over one day, starting with their dreams and finishing with sunset at the end of the day. It was a radio play. Multiple characters are performed by seven actors so it’s a challenge to follow all the stories. I wonder if it might be easier to follow on radio. I was not the only one challenged. It demands concentration, but it’s funny, it’s tragic, it’s homely and accepting. These are odd characters but they speak to the depth and flimsy and tragedy and dreams of us all, although perhaps we’ve lost such lives in the rational and ordered days we now live. The seven did a wonderful job, seated in a row on stage, behind music stands with the text, voicing and acting the parts, mostly seated, occasionally standing or moving, sometimes singing. They were accompanied by a raft of children at times and several sound effects persons in true radio drama style, here in black with props and violin and piano. It’s delicious language that massages the lives of this odd crew through their typical day, if not ours. “It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea” (opening line spoken by First Voice). Wow. I say nothing by saying that these are irksome but sympathetic stories of Captain Cat, Mog Edwards, Polly Garter, Nogood Boyo, Organ Morgan and the rest. This was delightful and humourous, demanding of concentration and wonderfully done by our local Wild Voices music theatre group. The seven core performers were Nick Byrne, Tobias Cole, Dene Kermond, Kate Hosking, Dianna Bixon, Zsuszi Soboslay and PJ Williams.