National theatre wales with told by an idiot AND the riverfront–newport
MAN IN WHEELCHAIR SURVIVES steep hill HORSE CRASH
Sixty six year old man from the Rhondda wants to be the new James Bond ›› Read Gwyn Thomas’ letter to the producers of one of the most successful movie series of all time ... (FULL STORY ON Page 8)
The road was clear except for a cart, the grocery cart of the Co-operative store, drawn by Franklyn’s old horse, Dewi, now called Divi. To avoid any possibility of collision, Franklyn, always clear-minded when travelling at top speed, leaned heavily to the right. But when he was about halfway down the hill Divi started to move and with its bulk and the cart’s blocked the road. Franklyn who had now given up any attempt to guide the chair, was now heading straight for Divi. By an astonishing bit of crouching he passed under the horse with about an inch to spare. He shot over a bridge and up the slope on the other side of the valley.
The Dark Philosopher
The Dark PHILOSOPHERS National Theatre Wales WITH told by an idiot AND The Riverfront – newport 11-13 November The Riverfront — Newport 19-20 November The Stiwt — Wrexham nationaltheatrewales.org TOLDBYANIDIOT.ORG
National Theatre Wales National Theatre Wales is set to create bold, invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach. This production is #08 of the launch year programme — 12 shows over 12 months, one a month, plus one spectacular finale — in amazing places and unique spaces across Wales. phone +44 (0)29 2035 3070 email@example.com nationaltheatrewales.org THEATR IAITH SAESNEG O SAFON, A’I GWREIDDIAU YNG NGHYMRU, WEDI’I GWNEUD I BAWB.
TOLD BY AN IDIOT Told by an Idiot has established an international reputation for its startlingly original productions. The company produces work that is moving, comic and utterly theatrical and revels in a style of performance that is bigger than life. Productions include: The Comedy of Errors (RSC), Michel Faber’s The Fahrenheit Twins (Drum Theatre Plymouth, barbicanbite and unitytheatre) Beauty and the Beast (Lyric Hammersmith and Warwick Arts Centre), Casanova (a collaboration with poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and co-produced with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Lyric Hammersmith) and Philip Pullman’s The Firework-maker’s Daughter (Sheffield Crucible) Phone +44 (0)20 7407 4123 firstname.lastname@example.org toldbyanidiot.org
02 Cast ALEX BECKETT DAVID CHARLES NIA DAVIES RYAN HACKER DANIEL HAWKSFORD BETTRYS JONES GLYN PRITCHARD LAURA ROGERS CREATIVE TEAM Based on the works of GWYN THOMAS Adapted by CARL GROSE AND TOLD BY AN IDIOT Directed by PAUL HUNTER Designed by ANGELA DAVIES LIGHTING DESIGNED BY CERI JAMES Music composed and directed by IAIN JOHNSTONE SOUND DESIGNed BY LAURA COATES Casting by SAM JONES C.D.G AV by SIMON CLODE Wardrobe supervisors ANGHARAD MATTHEWS Helen Ognjenovic-morgan Emerging Director LYNN HUNTER Production Manager MATT NODDINGS Stage Manager SARAH COWAN Deputy Stage Manager CAROL PESTRIDGE Assistant Stage Manager CORDELIA ASHWELL
National Theatre Wales Staff team
TOLD BY AN IDIOT STAFF TEAM
PRODUCER LUCY DAVIES
Co-Artistic Directors Hayley Carmichael Paul Hunter
FINANCE MANAGER RHIANNON DAVIS TEAM CO-ORDINATOR DEVINDA DE SILVA FINANCE ASSISTANT DONNA JONES ADMINISTRATOR RHIAN JONES COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR MATTHEW LAWTON CREATIVE ASSOCIATE MATHILDE LOPEZ ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JOHN McGRATH CREATIVE ASSOCIATE CATHERINE PASKELL MEDIA OFFICER CATRIN ROGERS COMPANY ASSISTANT MICHAEL SALMON ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CARYS SHANNON CASTING SAM JONES C.D.G UK & INTERNATIONAL PR THE CORNER SHOP BOARD OF TRUSTEES STEVE BLANDFORD PHIL GEORGE (CHAIR) JON GOWER RICHARD HOGGER DEBORAH MARTELL POWELL GEMMA McAVOY JUDI RICHARDS CHRIS RYDE (VICE CHAIR) PETER STEAD
Executive Producer Sebastian Warrack Associate Director John Wright Assistant Producer Lucia Smith Finance Manager Penelope Easton Patron Richard Wilson OBE Board of Trustees Hazel Coomber Jessica Hepburn Sharon Kean Chris Martin (Chair) Dan Pursey Mel Rosenblatt
Thank You We would like to thank the following individuals and ORGANISATIONS for their support during the creation of The Dark Philosophers. Gary Beestone/Sarah Belcher/Carli de’la Hughes/Ged Simmons/Jason Thorpe/Joanna Holden/ Mark Lewis/Alison Woods and all the staff at No Fit State/Gwyn Thomas (Poet)/ Jeffrey Robinson/Edith Hughes (BBC Wales)/NICK YOUNG, RACHEL KINCHIN, CHRIS DAVIES AND ALL THE STAFF AT THE RIVERFRONT. National Theatre Wales first year sponsors
Registered company no. 6693227 Charity registration no. 1127952 Newspaper Design elfen.co.uk Print newspaperclub.co.uk
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The Dark Philosopher
’There was a man once who wanted to take me away. He was a fine lad. He would have done anything for me. He died because my father wanted me to die.’ She stared down at the bottom of the garden. ‘He would have lived if my father hadn’t seen him. His name was James Walter Mathias.’ ‘I’ve heard of him.’ ‘He’s dead now.’ ‘Did you say Simeon killed…?’ ‘I didn’t say anything.’ ‘But shouldn’t the police… or somebody…?’
Uncle Cadwallader went up to the Terraces to live in what they call sin with a very big woman called Agnes who had thick red hair and a fine record in sin. This Agnes had worn out about forty blokes without getting any paler herself and she cottoned on to my Uncle Cadwallader when she saw him throw a cart at a horse that had nearly run him over. She said here was a man who would see her through old age without going on the Lloyd George every whipstitch… There was something like the hot middle of the earth in the thick redness of that woman’s hair, and I could get the feel of the grip she had on Cadwallader.
‘What happened to James Walter Mathias is my business, my father’s and Walter’s. And where he sleeps, he’s near to me. Very near to me and that’s good.’ For two or three minutes she looked out of the window towards the bottom of the garden where she had been kneeling in the cabbage plot. Then, without another word, with her lips sticking stiffly outward, she left the room.
The Dark Philosopher
04 We lost Caradoc Shanklyn at the zoo. We split up to search for him and scoured the zoo at least half a dozen times. We were anxious, for we would not have put it past Shanklyn to try to steal some rare animal to recoup his losses on the drinks. Then someone remembered that Shanklyn had done service briefly in the Camel Corps as a way of avoiding human company in the Middle East. And it was indeed near the camel pound we found him, fast asleep. We got him awake and he told us with a smile that he had been dreaming of the quietness, the serenity and the cheapness of his days in the desertâ€Ś He went around the pound patting each of the camels before he left.
WWI VETERAN FINDS COMFORT IN CAMELS
The Dark Philosopher
Ghostly school bag terrorises pupils
I had a dream. That one day the bag would turn up at school apparently on its own, not hanging from your body as it usually did, but with you inside, mooing and frightening hell out of boys and staff alike.
The Dark Philosopher
Alex Beckett Alex trained at RADA. Theatre credits include: ‘Is Everyone ok?’(Nabakov); ‘Natural Selection’ (Theatre 503); ‘Hamlet’, ‘The Brothers Grim’ (Creation Theatre); ‘Letters’ (Union Theatre); ‘Starbucks 24HR Plays’ (Old Vice New Voices); ‘Swallow Song’ (Oxford Playhouse); ‘Playing Hamlet’ (Kings Head). Television credits include: ‘A Childs Christmas in Wales’ (BBC 4); ‘Marries, Single, Other’ (Left Bank); ‘The Scum Also Rises’ (Bwark); ‘The Bill’, ‘Emmerdale’ (ITV); ‘Hotel in Amsterdam’ (BBC); ‘London 2012’ (BBC). David Charles Theatre includes: ‘Otieno’ (Meta Theatre: Southwark Playhouse); ‘The Invisible Monkey’ (for Linda Marlowe); ‘An Enemy of the People’ (Theatr Clywd); ‘Granny & the Gorilla’ (Regents Park Open Air Theatre); ‘In Session’ (Leicester Haymarket & Manchester Contact); ‘Under Milk Wood’, ‘The
Duchess of Malfi’, ‘Queen Christina’ (Bristol Old Vic). ‘Timon of Athens’, ‘Conduct of Life’ (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff).
Of The World’ (Birmingham Stage Company); ‘Dick Whittington’ (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham).
of the Shrew’,‘Tamer Tamed’, ‘Cymbeline’, ‘The School of Night’ (RSC and West End).
David’s most recent television appearances include:‘Thorne’ (Sky); ‘M.I. HIGH’ (BBC) and the feature film ‘Into the Storm’ (HBO/BBC). He received a great deal of critical acclaim for his portrayal of Charles Hawtrey in the BAFTA nominated ‘Fantabulosa!’ (BBC).
Ryan graduated from Rose Bruford College, and is making his professional stage debut. He will also be playing Daz in the forthcoming film ‘Hunky Dory’ (Weekenders).
Theatre credits include: ‘The Crucible’ (Regents Park Open Air Theatre); ‘Warhorse’ (National Theatre West End); ‘Measure For Measure’, ‘Cariad’ (Theatr Clwyd); ‘Box’ (Birmingham Rep); ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (West Yorkshire Playhouse); ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, ‘The Comedy of Errors’ (RSC – Novello Theatre); ‘Quinto Quarto’ (Union Theatre); ‘The Little Years’ (The Orange Tree Theatre); ‘Wait Until Dark’ (Garrick Theatre); ‘Party time/ One For the Road’, (BAC – James Menzies Kitchin Memorial Trust Award).
Nia Davies Theatre credits include: ‘BBC Children’s Prom’ (Royal Albert Hall); ‘Changing Rooms’, ‘Come Blow Your Horn’ (Frinton Summer Theatre); ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (National Tour); ‘A Christmas Carol’ (The Dickens Festival); ‘Alexandra Kollontai in London’, ‘General Strike 1926, a spirited theatrical demonstration’ (The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor); ‘Altermodern Exhibition’ (Tate Britain); ‘Chekhov’s The Wedding’ (The Pushkin Club); ‘Skellig’, ‘Danny Champion
Credits include: ‘Midnight at the Hotel Beuregard’ (Rose Bruford / Paines Plough); ‘Carmen’ (Leicester Square Theatre). Daniel Hawksford Daniel trained at RADA. Theatre credits include: ‘Judgement Day’ (Almeida Theatre); ‘King Lear’ (The Globe Theatre); ‘Memory’ (Clwyd Theatr Cymru/ Pleasance Theatre); ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (Royal National Theatre); ‘Acqua Nero’ (Sgript Cymru); ‘Jackets’ (Young Vic); ‘The Pull of Negative Gravity’ (Colchester Mercury and 59 E 59 Theatres); ‘Taming
Theatre); ‘Under Milk Wood’ (Tricycle Theatre / London Stage Company); ‘The Bee’ (Noda Map Japan); ‘A Family Affair’ (Arcola Theatre); ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Blue Remembered Hills’, ‘Under Milk Wood’ (Dukes Playhouse, Lancaster); ‘Yn Debyg Iawn i Ti a Fi’ (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru). Television credits include: ‘Pobol y Cwm’ (BBC Cymru); ‘Mostyn Flint’ (S4C); ‘Courtroom’ (Mersey Television); ‘Brookside’ (Mersey Television); ‘Y Graith’ (Llifon Films); ‘Coronation Street’ (Granada Television); ‘A Mind To Kill’ (S4C); ‘The Indian Doctor’ (BBC). Film credits include: ‘Hunky Dory’ (Weekenders).
Festival Theatre); ‘See How They Run’ (Manchester Royal Exchange); ‘Bad Girls the Musical’ (West Yorkshire Playhouse and West End); ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘The Barber of Seville’ (Bristol Old Vic); ‘Celestria’ (Birmingham Rep and Edinburgh); ‘Jamaica Inn’ (Salisbury Playhouse); ‘Blackwater Angel’ (Abbey Theatre, Dublin). Television credits include: ‘Doctor Who’ (Christmas Special); ‘Midsomer Murders’, ‘Albert’s Memorial’, ‘Doctors’, ‘Missing’, ‘Holby City’, ‘Bad Girls’, ‘Elvismania’, ‘Relic Hunter’, ‘Rockface’, ‘Running Scared’, ‘Tales of Pleasure’, ‘Beach’, ‘The Sins’. Laura will be appearing in ‘The 39 Steps’ at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly from January 2011.
Laura Rogers Television credits include: ‘Skins’ (Channel 4). Glyn Pritchard Theatre credits include: ‘Black Album’ (National Theatre / Tara Arts); ‘Othello’ (RSC); ‘The Diver’ (Soho Theatre / Tokyo
Laura trained at RADA. Theatre credits include: ‘Macbeth’, ‘As You Like It’, ‘A New World’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Timon of Athens’, ‘Richard III’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, (Shakespeare’s Globe). ‘Gloucestershire’ (Arcola); ‘Hayfever’ (Chichester
PAUL HUNTER DIRECTOR Paul is co-founder and co-Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot with Hayley Carmichael. He has been involved as director/ devisor/performer in all their work to date,
The Dark Philosopher including ‘The Comedy of Errors’ (with the RSC), ‘The Fahrenheit Twins’ (Drum Theatre Plymouth/barbicanbite09/ unitytheatre), ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Other acting credits include: ‘Troilus and Cressida’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (both Shakepseare’s Globe), ‘Rapunzel’ (Kneehigh), and ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ (RSC). He was an Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, where he directed ‘The Venetian Twins’, ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ (winner of MEN Award – Best Production), and ‘Accidental Death of An Anarchist’. His other directing credits include: ‘Low Pay, Don’t Pay’ (Salisbury Playhouse), and ‘Senora Carrar’s Rifles’ (Young Vic). Paul is a winner of the Jerwood Young Vic Award for Directing. Acting credits for TV and Film include: ‘One Day’ (Focus Features); ‘Trinity’ (Roughcut/ITV2); ‘Mitchell and Kenyon’, ‘My Family’, After You’ve Gone’ (BBC); ‘Tunnel of Love’, ‘Hardware’ (Thames/ITV1). CARL GROSE CO-WRITER Carl Grose’s plays include: ‘Quick Silver’, ‘49 Donkeys Hanged’, ‘Superstition Mountain’ and ‘Grand Guignol’. For the past fifteen years he has worked extensively with the internationally acclaimed Kneehigh Theatre as both actor and writer. Writing for Kneehigh includes ‘Tristan & Yseult’, ‘The Bacchae’, ‘Blast!’, ‘Cymbeline’ and, most recently, ‘Hansel & Gretel’. Carl has also written for BBC Radio, ‘Vesturport’, and the National Theatre. He co-founded the Cornish production company o-region, and is currently writing new plays for The Drum Theatre, Plymouth, and the RSC. Carl has previously worked with Told By An Idiot, co-writing their Christmas show, ‘Beauty And The Beast’. ANGELA DAVIES DESIGNER Angela trained at Cardiff College of Art and Nottingham Polytechnic.
Angela has worked extensively in theatre since living in the Rhondda Valley. Other work in Wales includes designs for Diversions Dance Company, Frank Vickery, and the Film ‘Simon Magus’. Theatre credits include: ‘A Good Night Out in the Valleys’ (National Theatre Wales); ‘The Prince of Homburg’ (Donmar); ‘Henry V111’ (Shakespeare’s Globe); ‘The Father’ (Chichester); ‘Mahabharata’ (Sadlers Wells); ‘The Odyssey’ (Lyric Hammersmith/ Bristol Old Vic); ‘Bronte’ (Lyric/touring); ‘After Mrs Rochester’ (Duke of York/touring); ‘The Clearing’, ‘A Doll’s House’, ‘Mother Courage’, ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ (Shared Experience); ‘The Magic Carpet’ (Lyric, Hammersmith); ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Bristol Old Vic); ‘Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’, ‘Don Juan’, ‘The Hypochondriac’ (WYP); ‘Night of the Soul’, ‘Victoria, Shadows’ (RSC); ‘Olga’, ‘Wormwood’ (Traverse, Edinburgh); ‘Nightingale and Chase’ (Royal Court); ‘Stairs to the Roof’ (Chichester); ‘The Nativity’ (Young Vic); ‘The Maids Tragedy’ (Globe); ‘As You Like It’ (Washington Shakespeare Theatre). Opera credits include: ‘Rigoletto’ (Nevill Holt, Grange Park); ‘Falstaff’ (Grange Park); ‘La Cenerentola’, ‘La Gazza Ladra’ (Garsington Opera); ‘The Magic Flute’ (Opera House, Graz); ‘Snatched by the Gods’, ‘Broken Strings’ (Almeida Opera). CERI JAMES LIGHTING DESIGNER Ceri trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama and University of Southern California. Recent theatre lighting credits include ‘The Butterfly Hunter’ (Theatr na n’Óg); ‘Barkin’ (Grass Roots Productions); ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ (Mappa Mundi Theatre); ‘Broken Hearted’ (Derby Theatres); ‘A Good Night Out’ (National Theatre Wales); ‘Croesi’r Rubicon’
07 (Theatr Bara Caws); ‘Cinderella’ (The Mercury Theatre Colchester) ‘The BFG’ (Fiery Angel/Theatre Royal Northampton); ‘The Bankrupt Bride’ (Theatr na n’Óg); ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ (Mappa Mundi Theatre); ‘Siwan’ (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru); ‘Goon Bandage’ (Taliesin Arts Centre); ‘Danny Champion of the World’ (Birmingham Stage Company); ‘The Stories of Hans Christian Anderson’ (The Sherman Theatre); ‘Gods a DJ’ (Theatre Centre,London); ‘An Informers Duty’ (The National Youth Theatre of Wales); ‘Journey to the River Sea’ (The Unicorn Theatre); ‘Martha and the Chinese Elvis’ (Salisbury Playhouse); ‘Beautiful Thing’ (Leicester Haymarket Theatre); ‘The Bat’ (New Theatre Stoke on Trent); ‘Noah’ (Oxfordshire Touring Theatre Company). IAIN JOHNSTONE MUSICAL COMPOSER AND DIRECTOR As well as a musician, Iain is an actor, director and writer. He is coartistic director of Wee Stories, Scotland’s multi-generational theatre company, with whom he has co-written and directed much of the company’s work, including: ‘Treasure Island’, ‘One Giant Leap’ and the multi-awardwinning ‘Arthur the Story of a King’. For over 20 years Iain has worked with most production houses and touring companies in Scottish Theatre. With the National Theatre of Scotland, Iain was the Tuba-playing Dad in the original production of ‘Wolves in the Walls’ and most recently played the Emperor in ‘The Emperor’s New Kilt’ (winner of the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland 2008 for Best Show for Children and Young People) which he also directed and co-wrote. Outside of Scotland Iain has worked with the Stadsteatern in Stockholm; in England he spent six years as Musical Director/
performer with Northern Stage, Newcastle as well as working with Theatre Sans Frontieres, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Sheffield Crucible, Belgrade Theatre and Warwick Arts Centre. He is an Associate Idiot with Told by an Idiot with whom for over 10 years, he has collaborated very happily on numerous productions including; ‘I Weep at my Piano’, ‘Shoot me in the Heart’, ‘A Little Fantasy’, ‘The Fireworkmaker’s Daughter’, ‘Casanova’ and most recently ‘A Comedy of Errors’ with the Royal Shakespeare Company. LYNN HUNTER EMERGING DIRECTOR Lynn has worked as an actress in Theatre, Film and Television for over 30 years. Her directing experience includes: six projects at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama as a guest director; Mercury Theatre; ‘A Letter from Sarajevo’ and ‘Eastwind’. ANGHARAD MATTHEWS WARDROBE SUPERVISOR Welsh Artist Angharad Matthews graduated from the Royal Welsh Collage of Music and Drama in 2005 with a BA Hons in Theatre Design. She has worked throughout Wales in various performing arts including theatre, dance, circus, and carnival. Angharad has worked with Wales based theatre companies including: National Theatre Wales, National Youth Theatre Wales, Theatr na n’Óg, Mappa Mundi, Torch Theatre, Boombastic Dance, and Everyman Theatre. She has repeatedly designed and toured throughout Wales and Europe with leading Welsh circus NoFit State for their productions of ‘Immortal’ and ‘Tabu’. Other outdoor events include site-specific dance and aerial project with London based bassline circus and Ireland based Intergrated aerial dance and disabilities company Croiglan.
Angharad also enjoys working within community arts, designing for the Blaengarw Carnival, PAK community dance project with Rhondda Cynon Taff Arts, and Rubicon Dance Cardiff. Angharad is also a Dance Artist developing her own performance work in Wales combining theatre, dance, and aerial. MATT NODDINGS ProDUCTION MANAGER Matt recently production managed the season at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park. Prior to that he worked on shows for On Theatre, Rho Delta Ltd, Blind Summit/BAC, Out of Joint, Nica Burns, Headlong, Arcola. Matt was resident at Soho Theatre for three years working on ‘IyaIle’, ‘This isn’t Romance’, ‘Pirahna Heights’, ‘Joe Guy’, ‘Leaves Of Glass’, and many others. He was Production Manager at York Theatre Royal for nine years, and prior to that toured nationally and internationally with Compass Theatre Co. Current projects include work with Paines Plough / Plymouth Theatre Royal, Told by an Idiot and Sheffield Theatres. SARAH COWAN STAGE MANAGER Sarah has worked as Company Stage Manager for RSC & Filter Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Theatr Clwyd, Goat and Monkey, and DreamThinkSpeak. She has also worked as Production Manager for Theatre Royal Bath, Beth Medley Productions, in addition to work with Theatr Clwyd, Manchester Royal Exchange, Clean Break and Theatre Royal York. Other roles have included Co-producer for ‘Soiree Ambivalence’ (Cabaret Evening), Co-producer for ‘Haunted Hadlow’ (Site-specific piece), Lighting/Set Design for Beth Medley Production, Lighting Design for
Stratford Circus Theatre. Festival work includes Greenbelt, End of the Road and Lovebox. CAROL PESTRIDGE DEPUTY STAGE MANAGER Carol began her professional career in 2006 as Wardrobe Mistress for Spirit of the Dance Productions on their international tour of ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ and their UK tour of ‘Le Grand Cirque’. However after working for the Armonico Consort as the Assistant Stage Manager on their production of ‘The Fairy Queen’ and as the Deputy Stage Manager on their UK tour of ‘The Magic Flute’, Carol discovered that her passion lay in Stage Management. Carol went on to work on numerous productions including the UK premiere of Ernest Bloch’s Opera ‘Macbeth’, ‘Rookery Nook’ and ‘Paradise Found’ at The Menier Chocolate Factory, ‘Thyestes’ at The Arcola Theatre, ‘Slaves’ at Theatre 503, ‘Low Pay? Don’t Pay!’ at The Salisbury Playhouse, ‘The 24 hour Plays’ at The Old Vic and Told by an Idiot’s UK tour of ‘The Fahrenheit Twins’. CORDELIA ASHWELL ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER Cordi studied Theatre Design at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has worked as a prop maker and scenic painter for the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Sherman Cymru, Theatr na n’Óg and Theatr Gwent and works as a designer for Spectacle Theatre and for Venue 13 at the Edinburgh Fringe. She has also worked with Cardiff Theatrical Services for New York Metropolitan Opera, National Theatre Wales, S4C, ITV Wales and the BBC. Within the last two years Cordi has expanded her work into production, stage and events management and she is now the Design Manager for the Kendal Calling Festival.
The Dark Philosopher
Dear Mr Saltzman, Dear Mr Broccoli, I hear you are looking for a new James Bond and you suggest a younger man. I think this is a mistake. You need an older man and I think I fit the bill. I am sixty-six. I am still an effective lover and a pretty handy tenor with an extraordinary ear. If ever you should get James Bond to sing, and it’s about time that he did, for a change, I’m your man.
LETTERS: I’m the new 007
I notice that you want a man who walks well. You say he should move like Robert Mitchum, Gary Cooper, Clarke Gable. I haven’t actually seen these men in action and have no idea what is special in the way they walked as I only went to the cinema once when I was on the rota of voluntary ushers at the welfare hall. However, I think I walk all right. I live on a hill riddled with ruts and pot-holes and have grown very agile over the years dodging these traps. This would come in useful for me when I have to fling myself flat at the approach of bullets. I think I should mention that I tend to walk in a rather low-slung sort of way. I asked Alderman Beynon if he thought this would spoil my chances as a successor to Sean Connery. He said no, like a shot! Yours sincerely Gwyn Thomas
The Dark Philosopher
Join Us The Newport Assembly Happening at Dark Philosophers’ Shop (Was Dragon’s Den) 35 Upper Dock Street Newport Town Centre Saturday 13 November 5.00pm (Free Entry) Over the past month we have been asking you, the people of Newport, what question you would ask of your city. You thought that something was missing from the soul of Newport and asked what that was. Exactly 171 years after the November Newport Uprising, you wondered who today’s Chartists are in these times of huge government cuts? You asked what had happened to Newport’s past prosperity and success? You asked “if you cut this city does it bleed”? You wondered why the Ryder Cup didn’t leave a legacy on your everyday life? Your questions showed that there are many ghosts haunting Newport: in your memories, histories and promises not yet fulfilled. Come and discuss what are the ghosts that haunt Newport and how we can exorcise them. Get together with local musicians, shop keepers, artists, cafe goers, martial artists, dancers, cyclists, writers, butchers and public toilet attendants to talk about what really matters in Newport now. If you are planning on coming, email us at email@example.com or call Catherine 07545 915185. You can also reach us anytime online at nationaltheatrewales.org/community.
This Christmas... The Weather factory 7 – 24 December CYnwYd – baptist street penYgroes You get all sorts round for Christmas; guests you welcome with open arms, some who seem to stay forever and those dressed in red who arrive bearing gifts. but this Christmas, Fevered Sleep and National Theatre Wales have invited a very unusual guest to a house in Penygroes, near Caernarfon. Step through the front door to join us for a midwinter gathering, and discover what might happen if the weather came to visit. Walk through the house and experience the four seasons for yourself, all on one winter’s night in North Wales. Created entirely on location in a house in Penygroes, The Weather Factory packs a year’s worth of weather into one ordinary yet magical place, celebrating the natural geography that makes Snowdonia the engine room of the Welsh climate. Fe welwch chi bob math o bobl amser y Nadolig. Gwesteion wrth eu boddau’n eich cofleidio, rhai fydd ddim am adael, a rhai wedi gwisgo mewn coch ac yn cario anrhegion. Y Nadolig yma, mae Fevered Sleep a National Theatre Wales wedi gwahodd gwestai anarferol iawn i dyˆ ym Mhenygroes, ger Caernarfon. Camwch drwy’r drws i ymuno â ni ar gyfer digwyddiad Canol-gaeaf, ac i ddarganfod beth all ddigwydd pe bae rhywun yn gwahodd y tywydd i mewn i’w tyˆ. Cerddwch drwy’r tyˆ a phrofwch y pedwar tymor drosoch chi’ch hunain, y cyfan ar un noswaith gaeafol Yng Ngogledd Cymru. Wedi’i greu yn gyfangwbl mewn tyˆ ym Mhenygroes, mae The Weather Factory yn llwytho gwerth blwyddyn o dywydd i mewn i un safle cyffredin, ac eto’n hudol. Mi fydd y Cynhyrchiad yn ddathliad o’r daearyddiaeth naturiol sy’n gwneud yr Wyddfa yn injan ganolog hinsawdd Cymru.
GWYN THOMAS FO A FI (Cerdd a gomisiynwyd) Llyfrgell fawr, a llyfrgell barchus A’i chatalogau arferol hi’n Rhai manwl, manwl a gofalus. Ond cyfaill yno’n dangos imi Fod ‘Gwyn Thomas y Rhondda’, Un nad oedd iaith gynhenid Gwalia Y peth nesa at ei galon, wedi atgyfodi A’i fod o, o gyfodi, wedi cyfansoddi Dau lyfr Cymraeg yr oedd eu hagweddau sylfaenol Yn fflamgoch Gymreig ac yn genedlaethol. I mi roedd hyn yn galonogol, A gobeithiwn, rywdro yn y dyfodol, Weld fy mod innau wedi ’nghatalogio Fel un ffraeth, tafodrydd, doniol, Ac yn awdur Saesneg llon a gwefreiddiol. Gwyn Thomas (Bardd)
Help shape the future of National Theatre Wales Become a National Theatre Wales TEAM Member and join others in running events, sharing your ideas, starting new projects and spreading the word… In exchange we offer you the chance to get behind the curtain, to tell us what you would like to see shown, learn new skills and receive training, take part in building the shows and we’ll even throw in a ticket. We are looking for TEAM member across Wales but especially at our 2010/2011 show locations: South Wales Valleys / Swansea Cardiff / Barmouth / North Wales Brecon Beacons / Bridgend / Newport Snowdonia / Aberystwyth / Milford Haven Port Talbot… and beyond. For more information please contact Devinda De Silva / TEAM Co-ordinator 029 2035 3079 / 07540 687021 firstname.lastname@example.org nationaltheatrewales.org/community You must be 16+ All expenses are paid
The Dark Philosopher
(1913–1981) BY PROF. Dai Smith / Chair – Arts Council of Wales
Gwyn Thomas was born in the Rhondda in 1913. And, as he used to say, ‘the next year was even worse’. It was a concentration of Time and Space that conspired to place him at the centre of the maelstrom that was South Wales in the last century. He once hyperbolically claimed that the Rhondda Valleys of his childhood and early manhood
The Dark Philosopher European masterpieces were often the collective narrators he called ‘we’, his Greek chorus laughing hysterically in the wings of history, his Dark Philosophers. These works, of unique style and universal significance, could have been written by no-one who had not come from that time and that place.
were ‘a more significant Chicago’. He meant that a great massing of people coming together, largely immigrant and explosive in growth, had turned their mere human aggregation into a congregation of purpose. Out of the most searing poverty and grinding unemployment, which in the 1920s and 1930s had succeeded the dynamic coal capitalism of the 1900s, they had sustained a community through their own intrinsic worth and by expressing its validity in a culture of expressiveness which had scarcely any like on earth. Gwyn became its supreme voice. From the late 1940s to the early 1950s he published a series of moral fables that took the form of short stories, novellas and full-blown novels but were, in intent, monologues of rhetoric and riffs of dialogue in which savagery was marked by comedy, increasingly black and bilious, and moral judgement was delivered with the stiletto sidestep of irony. His protagonists in these
Success, of a limited kind, brought him wider fame and eventually a loosening of the foothold of security he had found in a mis-fitting career as a school teacher of Spanish. I had encountered him this way as one of his pupils in Barry Grammar School in the 1950s and, thereafter, read him voraciously for his wisdom as much as his incomparable wit. The very fact that he was so funny, in speech and conversation no less than on the page, has sometimes obscured the full force and significance of his meaning, almost as if, for some, on tv and radio, he ended up all wind, and no Chicago. Yet this, in Gwyn’s own words in 1952, was to ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’. The plain fact is that in a Wales of one-dimensional, one-trick-pony writers, this Genius of Expressiveness had it all and displayed his outrageous facility in plays, newspaper columns, musicals, memoir and fiction, to sing his own song, personal yet collective, notwithstanding the tired conventions of form or genre. He had even dreamed of a national theatre of Wales that could embody so much of the things to which he had witnessed during his lifetime. Both The Keep in 1962 and Sap in 1974, that forerunner of Joan Littlewood’s Oh! What a Lovely
11 War!, are testimony to his yearning to make drama our own in Wales. He would have been delighted to see National Theatre Wales finally emerge in 2010, and thrilled to know that his Dark Philosophers would, in a new and vital manner, speak their truth and tell their lesson again for this new century. Naturally, they will tell it in such a way as to make their listeners rock with laughter and ache with the pain of their revelatory comedy. How else, Gwyn asked us, would you have it? How else could it be?
Our theatrical adventure across Wales continues. Remember to collect your stamp from the box office, and if you see all 12 shows we will refund you the total cost of your tickets.
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A Good Night out in the valleys
The devil inside him
For Mountain, sand & sea
Love Steals Us From Loneliness
The Dark Philosophers
The Weather Factory
The Soul Exchange
Published on Nov 11, 2010
The great 1940s Valleys storyteller Gwyn Thomas becomes a dark hilarious, twenty-first century comedian, taking no prisoners and respecting...