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Monday, 22 April 2013

‘Tir Sir Gâr’ (The Land of Carmarthenshire)





As Punchdrunk prepare to take centre stage at their London based “bleak hinterland”, enter Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh-language National Theatre,  aiming an equally powerful punch at the current crisis in the Welsh farming and food industry. 

‘Tir Sir Gâr’ (The Land of Carmarthenshire) is a joint venture between leading Welsh artist Marc Rees, playwright and screenwriter Roger Williams and director Lee Haven Jones. This poignant and often powerful ‘promenade’ production starts with a cup of tea and ‘bara brith’ at St Peter’s Civic Hall in the market town of Carmarthen. Congregated under Melville Mitchell’s newly built Dutch style barn of corrugated iron and surrounded by Sergio Pessanha’s plastic neon boxes, we are seated to watch a film. During the two week performance period, the barn becomes a daily debating ground for guest speakers, on various themes from the show.

Whisked away by coach to the Carmarthenshire County Museum , who’s own future is currently in crisis, the experience continues on foot amongst a vast agricultural collection. We are invited to look for twelve themed artifacts, numbered on film, but soon forgotten from memory.  We meet the fictitious Jenkins family, and distraught mother Anne (Rhian Morgan) who argues with her angry young son Arwel  (Siôn Ifan) about the future of ‘Pen Cerrig’, the 200 acre farm, and their ironically named daughter, Non (Lucy Hannah).

Divided into two groups, we are guided through the museum of memories, discovering the previously featured bubble wrapped artifacts, accompanied by video installations by various artists. From duo Melville Mitchell’s labour inspired struggle to Eddie Ladd’s enactment of a traditional baptism, these beautifully shot films, curated by Rees and filmed by Simon Clode feel distant from the live theatrical experience, often leaving the older generation lost on this new experience.

The family saga continues with Luned (Catherine Ayres), the OCD suffering, cheese obsessed, older daughter, who prefers the clinically sterile villain supermarket, to the shit and stress of the family farm.  London based older son Celyn (Gwydion Rhys) returns home through a beautifully written station to station soliloquy.  Stripped of his suit and city life, he is confronted with the trauma which lies at the heart of this tragic, true to life tale. The passion of each performer is electrifying, as they tackle Williams’ beautifully crafted poetic story, treasuring their emotional soliloquies as carefully as the agricultural artifacts.  

As the bell tolls,  the iconic sounds of Welsh hymn singing invites the congregation to join the feuding family in the chapel, as father (Dewi Rhys Williams) reflects on the neon signage that ‘everything, everyone, everywhere ends’, resonating the sad truth of the factual and fictitious storylines.

Led out to a familiar corrugated barn of white washed walls and neon boxes, the last few laces of this theatrical treasure hunt are told and tied. We leave behind the unnoticed contemporary ceramics of Carwyn Evans and the painful absence of the much needed live performance art. We return on the bus with a legacy of hope, wrapped in linen and a clever play on words ‘Câr Sir Gâr’. Translated, we are asked to love this county and support the local enterprises of Wales.  

St Peter’s Civic Hall, Carmarthen and Carmarthenshire County Museum, Abergwili until 27 April

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tir Sir Gâr



Y Cymro - 19/04/13

'Hanes teulu, tynged ffarm' yw'r hedyn sy'n cael ei blannu ar wahoddiad Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru i brofi cyfoeth Tir Sir Gâr. 'Mewn undeb mae nerth', medd yr hen air, ac mae hynny i'w weld yn amlwg yn ffrwyth llafur y criw creadigol fu'n aredig a medi'r cynhaeaf o gynhyrchiad cofiadwy hwn.

Yn Neuadd San Pedr, Caerfyrddin, mae'r profiad yn cychwyn, o dan do sied fuarth cyfoes ble y plethwyd bocsys o neon llachar â bara brith a phaned boeth. Gair o groeso gan yr MC Marc Rees, yn ein hannog i wylio'r sgrin fideo fawr, a'i ddeuddeg delwedd i'w canfod ar y daith ddirgel. Bob delwedd a'i arwyddocâd pryfoclyd fel 'egin', 'addysg' neu 'llafur'.

Yn ei ail gyflwyniad (diangen a diddychymyg dramatig) ar y bws o'r Neuadd i'r Amgueddfa, fe ddywedir wrthym fod dwy stori am eu gosod ger ein bron, ffuglen a ffaith. Am deulu Bryn (Dewi Rhys Williams) ac Anne Jenkins (Rhian Morgan) ac am fyd 'amaeth a aeth'.

Ymlaen â'r daith ar droed, heibio i dractor a rhagor o ddelweddau i godi chwilfrydedd cyn ein caethiwo yng nghegin fferm Pen Cerrig, a'n cyflwyno i'r teulu trist oddi mewn. 'Arwel' (Siôn Ifan) y mab anhapus a blin a arhosodd adre, 'Non' (Lucy Hannah) unig obaith ifanc y fferm a'r mab hynaf 'Celyn' (Gwydion Rhys) sy'n dychwelyd o ddinas Llundain ar drên drwy ymson trawiadol dros ben.

Parhau wna'r perlau o ymsonau gydol y daith a phob un yn gymysg o'r dwys a'r doniol. Poen hiraethu'r fam wrth anwesu llwch ei llafur, neu ysfa am ryddhad 'Non' o'r negyddol sy'n boddi ei breuddwydion. Salwch meddwl cynnil ond clyfar y ferch hynaf, 'Luned' (Catherine Ayers) sy'n dyheu am awyrgylch glinigol lân yr archfarchnad fawr na budreddi caled y fferm farw. Un o gryfderau'r gwaith heb os yw sgript gyhyrog a barddonol Roger Williams wedi'i gyfarwyddo'n sensitif tu hwnt gan y 'cyfarwyddwr theatraidd' Lee Haven Jones.

Fel gyda chynhyrchiad blaenorol y cwmni o 'Y Bont', mae'n debyg y bydd rhai yn grwgnach y dylid fod wedi cyflwyno'r gwaith ar lwyfan theatr foethus. Er imi annog y cwmni i beidio llwyr anghofio'r canolfannau perfformio pwysig hyn, mae dewis i leoli'r digwydd yn yr Amgueddfa y tro hwn, yn amlwg o berthnasol a phriodol.

Fe'n rhannwyd yn ôl lliw'r pecynnau am ein gwddf, a'n tywys trwy Amgueddfa o atgofion y teulu, gan geisio dal a deall arwyddocâd y delweddau a'r cyflwyniadau 'dawns' yn y wledd weledol. Cefais i, a sawl un arall, ein boddi braidd gan rai o'r delweddau gan geisio'n galed i weld neu wneud synnwyr o'r sain a'r symud. Trueni na chawson ymateb barddonol un o brif feirdd Sir Gâr, I ddwysau'r ddelwedd ac i briodi'r llun a'r llwyfan.

Heb os, mae Tir Sir Gâr yn torri tir garw a gwreiddiol iawn, ac yn sicr yn dir newydd i genhedlaeth fwy ifanc na mi. I'r rhai hŷn ohonoch, mae adlais sicr yma o sioeau cynnar Brith Gof, ar ddechrau'r nawdegau. Os ydi'r profiad wedi'ch cyffroi, yna mae'n werth ceisio gweld un o gynyrchiadau meistri'r grefft, Cwmni Punchdrunk, y bues i'n ddigon ffodus i gyd weithio â nhw ar 'The Masque of the Red Death' ble y trawsnewidiwyd Canolfan Gelfyddydau Battersea yn set wefreiddiol i straeon tywyll Edgar Allan Poe.

Rhaid canmol Y Theatr Genedlaethol am fentro , a llwyddo, ar y cyfan i fynd â ni ar daith storïol, emosiynol heriol iawn. O drydan diffuant y dagrau ym mhortreadau actorion i'r neges glir am beryglon yr Oes Gyfoes ar gadernid teulu a chymdogaeth, a'n hetifeddiaeth. Mynnwch eich sedd ar y bws da chi, a dathlwn ddiolchgarwch eu cynhaeaf cyfoethog. Tir Sir Gâr, Tir Sir Garu! 

Mae'r cynhyrchiad i'w weld tan 27 o Ebrill. Mwy drwy ymweld â www.theatr.com

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Narrative







I've waited a long time for the Neilson family saga to give birth to a new sibling. Anthony Neilson, in his current creation for The Royal Court, gives us a Narrative on the Realism of The Wonderful World of Dissocia. 

If you read Narrative with the complex and magical combination of his earlier two plays, its value and resonance comes to life with a tragic quality. The fear of death, the misunderstood and never-ending stories of our complex lives; the pains, the passion and power of love, that fails to understand the mental illness that now hides in one of each four of us.

I too, a year ago, became one of those statistics, drowning in a silent deep depression, almost losing my life to a tsunami of tragedy that invisibly stirs up inside.  Like Narrative’s protagonists, I was manic, obsessive, compulsive and lost.  Clutching to anyone and everyone after a few weeks of attention; submitting their kind souls to a relentless rollercoaster of emotional carnage. Desperate for a message or meaning to move on in life, far beyond the boxes of Deal or No Deal! Identifying completely with the Realism of Stuart’s talking cat Galloway, yearning for a visit from Lisa’s  Dissocian Polar Bear, with his comforting lamenting lullaby. My inner and outer wonderful worlds were a distant dissocial disaster.


In our fragmented and disjointed lives, we often try to end our story, before we can truly understand it. Unconsciously creating our own hell, through guilt or gluttony. The ego and negativity we see staring back from the webcam screen or in shattered mirrors lasts much longer than the supposed seven years.  A lifetime in some cases. 

I'll never forget my first Neilson play. It had such an amazing effect on me, I was hooked. The complete package of Buether’s box sets, Powell’s poignant specific sounds and Chahine’s shimmering empathic warm lighting that adds the sparkle and magic, to Neilson’s tragically funny thoughts.  In Narrative, Marneur’s sparse spaced set of white washed walls and shattered mirrors, reflect our empty shattered lives, as we watch still waters polluted by piss and blood. Even the younger reflected innocent faces, underline the older egos. Completely washed away in the finale, by the filthy waters of life, leaving a clean line of enlightened innocence.

Critiqued for its disjointed and frustratingly unfinished nature, Narrative’s beauty hides in the reality of our own heaven or hell. Be that hidden, in the deep still water of our thoughts or in the frantic rush of our daily lives.  The London Bus analogy is well worth the fare in itself!

Art truly does reflect life, and in his own words, may we shower Neilson in feathers  for those who ‘don’t get to finish their story’.

Friday, 12 April 2013

'The Low Road'









Y Cymro 12/04/13

O ganol y ddinas, yn ôl yr es i am Sloane Square, i’r Royal Court er mwyn profi cynhyrchiad olaf Dominic Cooke fel arweinydd artistig y theatr. Yn ôl at un o’i ddramodwyr profiadol a phroffidiol yr aeth i gomisiynu’r ddrama ‘The Low Road’, a chyflwynodd Bruce Norris ddrama gyfnod cyfoethog am gyfalafiaeth, bod yn farus a’r hen ddihareb, ‘ariangarwch yw gwraidd pob drwg’.

“If you look very carefully, you’re sure to find a thief or two in the family tree of every millionaire” yw gwaddol y prif gymeriad, ‘Jim Trumpett’ (Johnny Flynn), y llanc penfelyn sy’n treulio’i oes yn twyllo pawb a’u cynorthwyodd, o’i fam faeth (Elizabeth Berrington) ar gychwyn y ddrama hyd at y Crynwyr tua’r diwedd.

Fel gydag un o ddramâu blaenorol Norris, y comedi llwyddiannus ‘Clybourne Park’, mae hon hefyd wedi’i gosod yn yr Unol Daleithau, ar gyfnod eu brwydr am annibyniaeth. Fe’n tywysir trwy’r trybini gan y storïwr Albanaidd ‘Adam Smith’ (Bill Patterson ) sy’n cyflwyno ei hun fel ysgolhaig o Brifysgol Glasgow, ac sy’n ‘Athro mewn Athroniaeth Foesol’!

Rhag difetha sawl syrpreis annisgwyl, gwell peidio dweud gormod am y stori, dim ond ei bod hi’n epig o ran maint a mynadd. Mae hi’n eiriol iawn, ac yn agos at dair awr o hyd, wrth inni wibio ar hyd y blynyddoedd. Ond mae yma werth, a neges bwysig, yn enwedig dyddiau yma o ystyried y llanast gan y llywodraeth bresennol.

Mae ‘The Low Road’ yn y Royal Court tan yr 11eg o Fai. Mwy yma www.royalcourttheatre.com  neu @royalcourt.

Dwi’n mentro yn ôl i Gymru, ddechrau’r wythnos,  er mwyn dal cynhyrchiad y Theatr Genedlaethol  yn Sir Gâr.  Wedi gwylio ‘Y Bont’ ar S4C rai dyddiau yn ôl , mi rannai fy marn am y ddwy, yr wythnos nesaf!

'Let It Be'






Y Cymro 12/04/13

Dau gynhyrchiad cwbl wahanol yr wythnos hon, a dwy sioe y cefais y fraint o’u mwynhau dros yr wythnosau diwethaf.  I Theatr y Savoy i gychwyn, ar achlysur dathlu hanner can mlynedd ers cyhoeddi  albwm  cyntaf y Beatles, yn sain a swyn y sioe ‘Let it Be’.

Wedi disgwyl  am flynyddoedd am gael yr hawl i lwyfannu sioe yn cynnwys clasuron o ganeuon y Beatles, fe ddaeth ‘Let it Be’ i lwyfan y Savoy, a disgwyl mawr amdani. O geudwll y Cavern yn Lerpwl  I lwyfan y Palladium yn Llundain, dyma gyngerdd o atgofion, gán wrth gân, gyda geiriau prin i'w cysylltu.  Cyfle gwych i glywed dros bedwar deg o ganeuon y grŵp llwyddiannus, wedi’u pecynnu’n daclus yn ôl y cyfnod. O lwyfan moel, di-liw i barti lliwgar Sergeant Pepper a'i fand amrywiol.

Roedd yr angen i ddawnsio rhwng y rhesi, yn amlwg, gyda rhan helaeth o’r gynulleidfa (lled feddwol!) yn ysu am godi a’u camerâu’n clecian  a’r ffôns a'u fflachiadau, yn atgyfnerthu awyrgylch drydanol y cyfnod.  Falle fydda’r cyfan yn ormod, wedi diwrnod o siopa neu grwydro strydoedd Llundain, ond os am barti, dyma’r lle i ddod.

Yn wahanol i sioeau tebyg, fel ‘Jersey Boys’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, neu ‘We Will Rock You’, does yna ddim stori amlwg yn plethu’r caneuon. Mae’r geiriau a naws y gerddoriaeth yn ddigon ynddo’i hun.  O ryfel Fietnam i Haf hir o gariad, cewch eich swyno gan yr alawon a’r geiriau cofiadwy. Llinellau bythgofiadwy fel ‘My guitar gently weeps’ ar gychwyn yr ail-ran acwstig atmosfferig.

I gyfeiliant hysbysebion a delweddau o’r cyfnod, ynghyd â golwg ar gynulleidfaoedd y gwahanol ddegawdau, dyma gilolwg bleserus yn ôl i rai, a phrofiad newydd o’r dyddiau da i eraill. Mae gwerth a gwefr y sioe yn ei symlrwydd, a hawdd dychmygu effaith trydanol y grŵp unigryw yma, sy’n parhau i’n cyffroi hyd heddiw.

Mae ‘Let it Be’ i'w weld yn theatr y Savoy, mwy drwy ymweld â www.letitbelondon.com neu @letitbelondon