Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog

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 theatrical journey through the prose writing of Dylan Thomas", the production was created by Tim Baker, an Associate of the Royal National Theatre, who won the Manchester Evening News Best Visiting Production award in 1992 for the highly acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird.

Although Thomas is best known for his 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, his evocative poems such as Fern Hill and Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night are rarely overlooked when anthologies celebrating 20th century poetry are put together. Indeed, this mesmerizing interpretation 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 branches on a window pane, might be to someone deaf from birth, who has miraculously found his hearing."

The company of five use only stools and orange boxes to set the scenes for Thomas's vivid recollections of his boyhood in Swansea. The young Dylan is played brilliantly by Russell Gomer, who struts and capers across the hazily lit stage, reliving the poet's every memory as if it was his own. His fellow actors play a myriad of characters. The slightly built but enormously gifted Zo Davies is adept at playing both male and female roles, from oppressed aunts to inebriated old men. And Morgan Walters, a ginger-haired giant of a man, is memorable for his portrayal of the young poet's bear-like uncle, as well as Les, Thomas's friend who invents names for passing strangers, and as a relation who steals livestock to pay for drinking binges. Whilst the cherubic-faced David Rees Talbot puts in a particularly memorable performance as Ray, a young man whose tragic past is briefly forgotten but inevitably revisited when he and Thomas ramble to the seaside to paddle in the surf.

The enigmatic and engaging Thomas lived a short and self-destructive, if literary fruitful life. His father, an English teacher at the local grammar school, began to read Shakespeare to him at the age of four and he started to write poetry in his eighth year. His childhood and adolescence were central to his later work ? although he left school without formal qualifications and did not learn the Welsh language. He moved from Swansea to London in 1934, famously remarking, "The land of my fathers My fathers can keep it."

Thomas's first two books, 18 Poems and Twenty-five Poems, were published respectively in 1934 and 1936. He married Caitlin Macnamara in 1937 (they had three children during their tempestuous years together) and he made his first radio broadcast with Life and the Modern Poet on the BBC Welsh Services the following year. After the Second World War, his popularity as a poet grew in direct proportion to his reputation as a heavy drinker. However, his positive, rhetorical style won an enthusiastic following and poems such as A Refusal to Mourn the Death by Fire of a Child in London led to lecture tours of the United States. He died in St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, on 9th November 1953.

This stage adaptation of Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog ? so bristling with humour and pathos - will undoubtedly delight parents and teachers endeavouring to introduce young people to Thomas's work. Adult audiences will also be entranced by its wry, witty narrative and flamboyant presentation. There is little doubt that, in the future, new theatrical companies will revive the production and it will become a fitting tribute to one of the world's great 20th century poets.

About The Author

Paula has contributed features to numerous guidebooks, magazines and journals on the subjects of literature, travel, culture and history. She is currently the editor of two online guides: All Info About Poetry http://poetry.allinfo-about.com and All Info-About English Culture http://englishculture.allinfoabout.com.

poets@allinfo-about.com

In The News:


Is Poetry Dead? Not if 45 Official Laureates Are Any Indication
New York Times
And for America's state poets laureate, the news cycle has been churning since earlier this month, when Valerie Macon, North Carolina's newly appointed laureate, resigned abruptly after an outcry from several of her predecessors. To the former ...

and more »

The New Yorker

Poetry Podcast: Jennifer Michael Hecht Reads Lucie Brock-Broido
The New Yorker
This month on the Poetry Podcast, Jennifer Michael Hecht reads “Noctuary,” by Lucie Brock-Broido. As its title indicates, the poem is a kind of journal of the speaker's nighttime musings: 3 December,. Unspeakable anxiety about locked-in syndrome, about ...


CT Team Verbal Slap Headed To National Poetry Slam
Hartford Courant
The fundraising event, called the Connecticut Regional Poetry Slam, will be at the M. White Lounge, 2288 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets to the event cost $15. All proceeds go toward Verbal Slap's trip, and there will also be a ...


Free 'Poetry of Songwriting' event features Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Frye ...
The Birmingham News - al.com
Titled "Watermelon Wine and the Poetry of Southern Music," the free gathering starts at 6:30 p.m. at the West Regional Branch of the Mobile Public Library. It will feature a mix of readings from Frye Gaillard and Rheta Grimsley Johnson and songwriters ...


SF Weekly (blog)

Poetry at the 33
SF Weekly (blog)
Most of what we know about Poetry at the 33 is that Kim Addonizio either used to hang out there or still does. That may sound like it isn't very much to go on, but Addonizio is one of the city's most underrated talents. She's a fucking genius, if you ...

and more »

Quill & Quire (blog)

First listen: Christine Fellows' northern-inspired poetry and music project
Quill & Quire (blog)
In 2011, Winnipeg musician Christine Fellows travelled through the Yukon as Dawson City Music Festival's songwriter-in-residence. The experience inspired Burning Daylight, a full-length album and poetry collection, both to be published by ARP Books in ...


Hampton Roads poetry readings
Daily Press
A poet once told me that to enjoy poetry, you must read it aloud to appreciate the nuances of the word choices and hear the rhythms that bring the stories to life. If that's true, Hampton Roads poetry fans can count themselves among the fortunate ...

and more »

Bermuda Poetry Showcased On BBC Scotland
Bernews
In honour of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland, poets from throughout the Commonwealth were invited by the British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC] to submit poetry in order to represent their country or territory ...


The New Yorker

The Mysterious Case of the Park Poet
The New Yorker
I was enchanted to find a park sign filled with poetry rather than the usual mishmash of information, rules, and thinly veiled threats. And such doting poetry: the park, the sign implied, had not been entirely beautiful without me. (I never mind a ...


Celtic Corner To Host Pipes & Poetry On Aug. 2
Coronado Eagle and Journal
Join Celtic Corner, also known as Scottish Treasures, on Saturday, August 2, from 1 – 5 p.m. when they host author and bagpiper Robert Burns, who will entertain on his bagpipes and sign his book “Affairs of the Heart & Soul” a poetic autobiography.

Google News

Bleed

now is not the time to open open that great... Read More

Ambiguity and Abstraction in Bob Dylan?s Lyrics

To many people contemporary poetry is a turn-off. The reason... Read More

Arizona Blue--Gunfighter: The Wolves Nest [Chapter One of Seven: The North]

[Episode Five]Arizona Blue-GunfighterThe Wolves Nest-in the North[Episode Five]Northern Minnesota Area?Winter... Read More

The Dead God of Copan (in English and Spanish)

English VersionAnd the Death God said: "Let it rise to... Read More

Beautiful Dreamer, Stephen Foster, Americas First Folk Song Writer

"Beautiful Dreamer" was written by Stephen Foster just before his... Read More

Africa

AFRICA (to africans in diaspora)africa here i come, africa africa... Read More

Find the Magic

FIND the MAGICFind the Magic As you release old bondage... Read More

Grandpas House & From Iraq with Love [Two Poems]

Grandpa's House [The ole Real House]The house needed painting Sun-blistered... Read More

Review Of Stephen B. Wileys First Book Of Poetry: HERO ISLAND

Poet Stephen B. Wiley's first book of poetry, Hero Island,... Read More

You Lost Your Last Gamble and Me

I will never think twice nor will I roll the... Read More

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog

Emlyn Williams Theatre, Mold, North Wales: 20th February 2003Clwyd Theatr... Read More

Burning Autumn Leaves [a poem in Spanish and English]

Burning Autumn Leaves [1950s in St. Paul, Minnesota]My long steel... Read More

Learn About Love From Poet Rumi

Learn about love by reading poetry by a long dead... Read More

Whats A Prisoner to Do?

What's a prisoner to do when justice fails and... Read More

Famous Poets Quotations - Top 30 Poetry Quotations by Famous Poets

"For this reason poetry is something more philosophical and more... Read More

Wondering

How I wonder what he's doing as I sit alone... Read More

Uamaks Aquatic [suspense: now in Spanish and English]

Delicately, my mind was selecting a muffled tune, out of... Read More

Choices

You can do and you can be whatever you want.... Read More

The Goat and the Rope [a Poem: in Spanish and English]

The Goat and the Ropewhere there were devils I saw... Read More

Daybreak at Pikes Creek [a Poem]

Daybreak at Pikes Creek [Summer of 2005]Daybreak by Lake Superior... Read More

Death & the Supernatural: Poetry/Five Poems

Supernatural PoetryHere are five poems,-what I call-death and supernatural poems.... Read More

Antidotes for an Alibi

Amy King's first full-length collection, Antidotes for an Alibi, insists... Read More

Three Poems and Paradise Lost [One for Hell, One for Heaven one for an Inca King]

The Torrents of HellHell's furnace- Likened to a chimney Vomits... Read More

The Merchant of Copan [In English and Spanish]

English VersionThe Merchant of Copan [480 AD]Advance: The ballgame at... Read More

Listen as I Share: WE

You speak simple, completley understandable justifications I respect them, respect... Read More