Dirty Protest. Hijinx. Leviathan. Howard Barker. Harri-Parris. BFI Launchpad.
A couple of weeks ago now saw a Dirty Protest double-header – one night in Aberystwyth followed by a repetition of the programme at the Abacus Rooms in Cardiff. Themed “The End of the Line”, it was a dazzlingly varied selection of short plays, largely by West Wales-based writers (Meredydd Barker, Lucy Gough, Branwen Davies, Catrin Fflur Huws, Roger Boyle, Liz Jones, Caroline Stockford, Rachel McAdam), taking in relationships, loss, political protest – amusing, poignant, baffling; sometimes all at the same time. All acted by a striking duo of young actors: Hanna Jarman and Rhys Warrington. And I even managed to get a seat this time.
There have been a number of assignments for British Theatre Guide as well:
First, there was the launch of Hijinx’s Unity Festival a celebration of inclusive theatre, taking place in July, involving an international roster of acts, largely with disabilities. This took place at the Senedd, the seat of Welsh Government, and took the form of a spoof comedy chat-show, during which Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas seemed not to mind being referred to as “Dave”.
Then there was the first “A Play, A Pie and A Pint” production at the Sherman Cymru – “Leviathan”, Matthew Trevannion’s three-hander set in the Valleys. An excellent, dark-toned family comedy. And the pie wasn’t bad either.
And the second production from The Other Room – Howard Barker’s “The Dying Of Today” – rooted in Ancient Greek wars, but eternally relevant. My first Barker – fiercely intelligent, but not as forbidding as I had feared (and I even managed to sneak a Sex Pistols reference into my review).
Most recently there was “The Harri-Parris: The Big Day” - Llinos Mai’s very entertaining comedy musical (and sequel to “The Leaving Do”, which I didn’t get to see) set amongst an eccentric West Wales farming family, which saw a rare Tuesday night full house at Chapter.
And in the midst of all this was the BFI Launchpad event (also at Chapter), arranged by Ffilm Cymru Wales, focussing on aspiring filmmakers, with particular references to black/minority ethnic writers, directors and producers. It was worth the £20 cost of entry to get three contrasting, but broadly complimentary assessments of my latest screenplay from experienced professionals; but I also managed to catch a programme of fascinating shorts from Film London, and meet some interesting people.