Theatre in Wales

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Wales Theatre Comany's 'Hamlet' : a preview     

Wales Theatre Comany's 'Hamlet' : a preview From the “understated luxury” of The Town House Club (formerly the home of the old Cardiff Town Council), to the accompaniment of coffee, fruit-juice and some of the most delicious and highly appropriate Danish pastries, Artistic Director, Michael Bogdanov launched his Wales Theatre Company’s forthcoming production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in both Welsh and English. Clearly this will be a significant and very exciting event in the Welsh theatrical calendar in 2005. With his Shakespeare Trilogy, Under Milk Wood and the musical Amazing Grace Bogdanov, in the short two years of the company’s existence, has demonstrated that there is a strong appetite for quality large scale theatre in South Wales.

The Welsh language translation of the play was commissioned, with Arts Council of Wales funding, by popular S4C actor and producer Wynford Ellis Owen whose long held ambition has now come to fruition. Ellis Owen is also Assistant Director to the project. The translation has been undertaken by the much-admired Welsh poet and author Gareth Miles. At the launch Gareth spoke about the very interesting challenges associated with the work. He felt that he was drawn to translate the atmosphere of Shakespeare’s poetry into Welsh rather than directly translating his words. Wayne Carter, who plays Hamlet has found in rehearsals that Gareth’s writing has helped to clarify many of Shakespeare’s original thoughts and that he has perfectly captured the spirit of the original play. It was clear, as the writer spoke that he had put a great deal of passion and commitment into the project. This work will no doubt become a major contribution to Welsh language drama; already published this new translation has been adopted for inclusion in the curriculum in schools throughout Wales.

Hamlet is one of, if not the world’s greatest play. Internationally renowned, award-winning director Michael Bogdanov has directed the play on five previous occasions. This production will focus on the political aspects of the play as a country prepares for a twenty four hour round-the-clock arms race. As the director explains “ Just as the troops are massing on the Danish border, a ghost tells Hamlet that his father was murdered by the guy in charge – his uncle. That puts a spoke in the wheel of the war machine! The situation is also a consequence of Hamlet being the thirty year old layabout heir to the throne messing round with the fourteen year old daughter of the Prime Minister – it is bound to end in tears. And a conquering Army.”

A production of Hamlet by The Wales Theatre Company would always have been something to look forward to but this innovatory bi-lingual production is a real step forward in the development of professional theatre in Wales. Of all the company’s productions so far this has to be the most challenging for the director. By giving us a work of the highest artistic standard Michael Bogdanov will go a long way to achieving his goal of making The Wales Theatre company a permanent part of the Welsh professional theatre fabric. With Wayne Carter – Hamlet, Kathryn Dimery – Gertrude, Wynford Ellis Owen – Player King, Ryland Teifi – Laertes, Catrin Rhys – Ophelia, Owen Garmon – Polonius, Meilyr Sion – Horatio, Julian Lewis Jones – Claudius, Dyfrig Morris – Gildenstern, Ieuan Rhys – Rosencrantz and Dafydd Emyr, Bradley Freegard, Gareth John Bale, Danny Grehan, Glyn Morgan, Geraint Pickard, Alun Saunders, Rhianedd Wynne he has a cast well equipped to bring it off.

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Michael kelligan
Friday, September 23, 2005back



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