Theatre in Wales

Commentary and extended critical writing on theatre, dance and performance in Wales

Meic Povey

Meic Stephens Obituary for the Telegraph

Meic Stephens' obituary appeared in the Daily Telegraph (online access subscription) 28th December 2017. The opening reads:

“Meic Povey, who has died aged 67, was a playwright who managed to combine the writing of soap operas with more substantial work for Welsh theatre and television; taken under the wing of Gwenlyn Parry, the eminent Welsh dramatist, and employed in the drama department of BBC Cymru at a time when the theatre in Wales was enjoying something of a revival, he was encouraged to write prolifically in his native tongue and became one of the most distinguished names in the Wales.”

The first half covers the writing for television. On “Pobol y Cwm”:

“Meic Povey, as scriptwriter, introduced more contemporary themes into the plots and a racier tone to the dialogue which became his hallmark. He was able to make entertaining, watchable television not only out of the quiddities of village life but from observation and discussion of more challenging issues such as violence, crime, sexual misconduct, divorce, and the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

The wags were fond of pointing out that everyone in the village seemed to have slept with everyone else in evermore bewildering combinations since Povey had been taken on as one of the regular scriptwriters, which was only a slight exaggeration. Gradually the villagers of Cwm Deri came to be seen in a new light, not as the innocent occupants of a never-never land but as our contemporaries living in a real, imperfect world.”

On “Teulu”:

“Although generally concerned with impoverished people living on the edge of periphery of society, in his series “Teulu”...which he co-wrote with Branwen Cennard, he presents a picture of a more glamorous, frivolous side of Welsh life that critics were happy to call “Dallas by the Sea.”

On theatre:

“For the stage he wrote several hard-hitting plays such as “Hogia Ni”, about soldiers returning from Afghanistan. “Nel”, for which he is best remembered, deals with family tensions to do with the inheritance of land, an older generation attached to traditional ways beset by their more affluent, rootless children for whom such things don't matter much. “Sul y Blodau” was based on the story of police raids and detention without charge of some 50 people with nationalist sympathies as part of the CID's unsuccessful attempt to discover who was behind the burning of holiday homes in Wales.”

The Daily Post 6th December quoted S4C creative content director Amanda Reeds:

“I am saddened to hear about the death of Meic Povey, an author of rare talent that made a huge contribution to film, television and theatre in Wales and beyond. There is no doubt that he was among the great Welsh playwrights of the past decades, with the ability to write popular entertaining drama as well as challenging material, dealing with issues relevant to the people of Wales today and universal themes about the human condition.

His television output, from the early days of Pobol y Cwm, up to his most recent drama series Byw Celwydd, show how much of a loss he will be - he had so much more to offer. In admiring his talent to create memorable and engaging characters, we should note series such as Talcen Caled and Teulu, films such as Ryan and Ronnie, Reit tu ôl i ti, Nel and Sul y Blodau, not to mention his vast amount of work as a television and stage playwright and actor in both Welsh and English.

“With his deep roots in Snowdonia, combined with his experiences of living in Cardiff since the 1970s, he had the ability to voice the experiences of people from all over the country.”

Meic Povey: born Nant Gwynant, Beddgelert, 27 November 1950, died Cardiff 5 December 2017

author:Adam Somerset

original source:
29 December 2017


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