August 28, 2009

Welsh Heroes

Welsh Heroes: Original Digital Illustrations by Benjy Davies

Benjy Davies kindly gave us permission to share these images from his Welsh Heroes collection inspired by the results of Culturenet Cymru's "100 Welsh Heroes" online poll. To see the layers used to create the images, and to read more about his process and the heroes themselves, visit the Gallery. For instance, the Dylan Thomas image above includes landscape images and manuscripts, as well as Thomas himself.

Sir Richard Burton, a great admirer of Thomas' work and of course very fine actor, performed Under Milk Wood many times, and brought along Liz Taylor as Rosie Probert.

David Lloyd George served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1916-1922, the only Welshmen to hold the office. He was "widely credited with ending the First World War, and setting up infrastructure and procedures that contributed to winning the Second World War."

Robert Owen, an industrialist and social reformer, fought to improve the “dark, satanic mills”of the Industrial Age, and in his 1816 "A New View of Society," espoused a plan for cooperative villages, which inspired the founding of New Harmony, Indiana, among others.

Phil Campbell has been both guitarist of the heavy metal group Motorhead, and a Minister of Health and Labor Party leader.

For close to twenty years, in the 13th century, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd "ruled a united Wales, and briefly, it appeared that Wales would achieve an independent national status. As history turned, it did not work out that way."

Rowan Williams, despite his outspokenness "against nuclear proliferation, the Iraq war, the over-dependence of the free market as a governing force, and in favor of the ordination of women," and particularly about homosexuality, became the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002.

Sir Anthony Hopkins has directed Under Milk Wood and played First Voice. He once performed in Strindberg's The Dance of Death as Olivier's understudy, and Olivier said “He walked away with the role like a cat with a mouse between its teeth”.

This exhibition was sponsored by the Madog Center for Welsh Studies at the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande Ohio.

August 19, 2009

Milk Wood Emerges

This Dylan Thomas fellow… we know him mostly for a villanelle he wrote exhorting his father “Do not go gentle into that good night.” We know he’s Welsh, if we think about it, because we likely read in school his Child’s Christmas in Wales.

Entering our sixth season, Caffeine finds ourselves with two poets whom even the scholars call by their first names, as if of friends—one famously pounding whiskey at the White Horse Tavern, one infamously garreted away in her quiet Amherst home—Dylan and Emily, two poets more than half in love with death. (And when you add on the work-in-progress Ode to Akhmatova begun at University of Chicago’s Summer, Inc residency, there’s a third singer of mortality in the mix.) So perhaps the most amazing thing about the work of these poets is the great joy they find in life, and the big-hearted humor in these plays.

This week Thomas’ Under Milk Wood takes shape in the Storefront Theater.

When Thomas was writing the play, the world was still reeling from the bombing of Hiroshima. Some believe the poet gave us his little village of Llareggub to reveal the resilie nce of small daily beauty.

Dedicated to beauty and to the play, our cast and design team make a Llareggub in Chicago.

August 10, 2009

Uplands getting down for Dylan Thomas

The news from Wales--how often does a Chicago theatre company give you that?

Press Release for Dylan Thomas' 95th birthday in his hometown of Swansea:

"Dylan Down The Ups is the title of a brand new series of events to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas in his home village of Uplands in Swansea on 27th October 2009.

A year ago Anne and Geoff Haden celebrated the opening of the fully restored birthplace of Dylan Thomas at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive with an Edwardian afternoon tea for a hundred people on what would have been the 94th birthday of the most well known man of words of the 20th century.

From that successful event they have moved to team up with residents and traders of the village of Uplands to celebrate his 95th birthday with a series of events planned throughout the day to give the area a party atmosphere despite it being in October.

Says Anne Haden “Swansea is made up of villages and this is Dylan’s – after all it was the place where he lived for over half his life and so much of his work was inspired by the area – this is the least that we can do for him.

“Dylan’s short stories are typically Welsh and full of humour while his poems are deep. The aim is to bring Dylan back to street level through fun, friendliness and accessibility.

“The area still has its Victorian and Edwardian character and what we are aiming to do is make the village the centrepiece of the celebrations with events going on in the street and many of the shops, cafes and the pub.

“People will be able to follow in Dylan’s footsteps and learn about the shops that were in the Uplands in his day when it was a more select shopping area with its own identity

“We want to involve all the community and there will be events for children and adults and because it will be during the October half term should attract a lot of interest from out side Wales.

Geoff Haden says that the plans are in an early stage but confirmed that “There will be a Dylan Look Alike Competition, short story and art competitions and shops will be encouraged to compete in the best dressed window award.

“We are in advanced discussions to premiere in Wales a new play about Dylan – Poem in October – by the writer Robert Forrest written especially for the leading Scottish actor Finlay Welsh.

“The plans have received enthusiastic support from local traders and we hope that this will develop into a week long event by the time that we celebrate the Centenary of Dylan’s birth in 2014.”

Nigel Clatworthy from The Chattery has already given his support to the birthday plans and says “Anne has booked our venue for the poet Peter Thabit Jones and musician Terry Clarke for an evening of Dylan’s work and some new and original material from both performers – it’s something that we are really looking forward to.”

Want to get involved? Telephone 0781 775 3376 or check "