“To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea” – those are the opening lines to ‘Under Milk Wood’ which runs at Northern Stage in Newcastle this month.
Originally written in 1954 by Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas as a radio drama, ‘Under Milk Wood’ was later adapted for the stage and made into a film in 1972 starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole.
Set in the dreams, disappointments and desires of the occupants of the small Welsh fishing village Llareggub (try spelling it backwards!), this “play for voices” develops into a haunting and, at times, unsettling experience served with the Northern Stage’s own contemporary, technological twist.
As the play opens, the audience is informed that they are witnessing the dreams of the townspeople. Their introduction to the plethora of characters is made as they witness moments of these dreams. Captain Cat, the old blind sea captain, dreams of his drowned shipmates; Myfanwy Price, the sweetshop-keeper, lusts after Mog Edwards; Organ Morgan obsesses about his music; postman Willy Nilly reads his neighbours’ letters and Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard relentlessly nags her two dead husbands.
As the day begins, more facts about Llareeggub are presented and a whole day of experiences is played out.
‘Under Milk Wood’ runs at Stage 2 at Northern Stage, Newcastle from Friday 2nd November until Saturday 17th November. Tickets, priced at £10.00, are available from northernstage.co.uk.