Welcome to the sloe black, slow, black, crow black, fishing boat bobbing sea ……
Valley Artists is proud to present, as its first production of 2018, Dylan Thomas’s undisputed masterpiece Under Milk Wood.
Written originally as a radio play (1954), Under Milk Wood has been adapted over the years for both television and film – two films, in fact, the first featuring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. This Valley Artists production was conceived and adapted for the stage by Chris Davey and collaborator, Director Janine Oliver.
Under Milk Wood is an affectionate and hilarious portrait of a day in the life of the small Welsh fishing village of Llareggub. We arrive with the dawn, and walk through the day, exploring the dreams and desires, loves and regrets, of a host of unforgettable characters,such as blind Captain Cat, Mrs Organ Morgan, Lord Cut Glass, Nogood Boyo and Bessie Bighead.
Indeed, there are 57 roles in the play. It’s a testament to Valley Artists’ professionalism that those characters are played by 15 actors – one a child.
The lyrical language, humour and characterisation of Under Milk Wood reflect the joys and despairs of age and youth and celebrate how beautiful and strange life can be.
A Short History of the Short Life of the Writer.
He started writing poetry as a teenager whilst at Swansea Grammar School, where his father was a Senior English Master. At 17, his first job was as a reporter on the South Wales Evening Post. 1933, his first poem published by London’s New English Weekly and in 1934 he moved to London. In London he meets his wife Caitlin and in 1938 they move back to Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog’ a book of short stories was published in April, 1940, and is well worth a read. Later in 1940, he left for London and began work as a script writer for films. 1943, he started work as a broadcaster. In 1949 he moved back to Laugharne and started writing in The Boat House. By now he and Caitlin had three children. In 1950 he did his first tour of America. He went back and forth quite often and his first performance of ‘Under Milk Wood’ in New York, was on 14th May, 1953. In October, 1953, he left for his final tour of America and died in November, 1953, in St Vincents Hospital, New York. During all this time he never stopped writing. The list is way to big to include. ‘Under Milk Wood’ had been strictly cast as a radio play. Thomas had intended to work further on the piece to present it as a literary version for publication. In 1951, the play was then called ‘LLaregub Hill’. He also worked on another piece called ‘The Town that was Mad’ which eventually morphed towards this masterpiece. The play’s period of gestation was Dylan Thomas’s whole career. It is his observations from living in Laugharne where he found the character vignettes which he moulded into this unforgettable play. Even those that hid behind their blinds and chose not to socialise – he saw it all.