Likeness of the artiste as a young dog - poetry
Emlyn Williams Theatre, Mold, North Wales: 20th February 2003
Clwyd Theatr Cymru commemorated the 50th anniversary of the death of the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) with a superb run of performances by a small but accomplished cast of actors.
Described in the programme as "A artificial journey by means of the prose copy of Dylan Thomas", the assembly was formed by Tim Baker, an Ally of the Royal Citizen Theatre, who won the Manchester Dusk News Best Visiting Assembly award in 1992 for the amply applauded To Kill a Mockingbird.
Although Thomas is best known for his 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, his suggestive poems such as Fern Hill and Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night are not often overlooked when anthologies celebrating 20th century poetry are put together. Indeed, this exciting analysis of Thomas's short stories could well be described as a rich fusion of prose and poetry. For example, in a scene crossing a river he speaks of, "slipping stepping stones" and early on in the piece he describes his "love" of words thus:
"And these words were, to me, as the notes of bells, the sounds of musical instruments, the noises of wind, sea and rain, the rattle of milk carts, the clopping of hooves on cobbles, the fingering of brushwood on a display pane, might be to a big shot deaf from birth, who has astoundingly found his hearing. "
The business of five use only stools and carroty boxes to set the scenes for Thomas's vivid memoirs of his boyhood in Swansea. The young Dylan is played brilliantly by Russell Gomer, who struts and capers crossways the fuzzily lit stage, reliving the poet's every recollection as if it was his own. His fellow actors play a innumerable of characters. The somewhat built but enormously able ZoŽ Davies is adept at live both male and female roles, from oppressed aunts to high old men. And Morgan Walters, a ginger-haired giant of a man, is memorable for his expos? of the young poet's bear-like uncle, as well as Les, Thomas's acquaintance who invents names for casual strangers, and as a family member who steals farm animals to pay for drinking binges. Even as the cherubic-faced David Rees Talbot puts in a especially memorable accomplishment as Ray, a young man whose tragic past is for a moment gone but certainly revisited when he and Thomas amble to the shore to propel in the surf.
The inscrutable and engaging Thomas lived a short and self-destructive, if literary profitable life. His father, an English coach at the local grammar school, began to read Shakespeare to him at the age of four and he on track to write poetry in his eighth year. His childhood and teenage years were focal to his later work - even if he left instruct lacking correct qualifications and did not learn the Welsh language. He moved from Swansea to London in 1934, especially remarking, "The land of my fathers My fathers can keep it. "
Thomas's first two books, 18 Poems and Twenty-five Poems, were in print in that order in 1934 and 1936. He married Caitlin Macnamara in 1937 (they had three kids at some point in their blustery years together) and he made his first radio advertise with Life and the Contemporary Poet on the BBC Welsh Military the subsequent year. After the Agree with World War, his popularity as a poet grew in as the crow flies amount to his reputation as a heavy drinker. However, his positive, rhetorical style won an enthusiastic next and poems such as A Refusal to Mourn the Death by Fire of a Child in London led to address tours of the United States. He died in St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, on 9th November 1953.
This stage adaptation of Photograph Of The Artiste As A Young Dog - so bristling with humour and misery - will undoubtedly delight parents and teachers endeavouring to establish young associates to Thomas's work. Adult audiences will also be absorbed by its wry, witty narrative and flashy presentation. There is barely doubt that, in the future, new dramatic companies will come to the construction and it will develop into a apt duty to one of the world's great 20th century poets.
About The Author
Paula has contributed skin to frequent guidebooks, magazines and journals on the subjects of literature, travel, civilization and history. She is presently the editor of two online guides: All Info About Poetry http://poetry. allinfo-about. com and All Info-About English Civilization http://englishculture. allinfoabout. com.
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