Tag Archives: Kathryn Dimery

Love In Plastic by Ian Rowlands

Performances

Chapter, Cardiff, Tues 1o Apr 2012, 8pm, £4 on the door

The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, Wed 11 Apr 2012, 7.30pm, £4

The Riverfront, Newport, Thurs 12 Apr 2012, 7.45pm, £4

IF the amount of laughter during rehearsals is anything to go by, audiences watching Ian Rowlands’ Love In Plastic are in for a side-splitting time. The play, featuring Boyd Clack, is being performed as part of artistic director Michael Kelligan’s On the Edge season of script-held plays with venues including Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. The On the Edge seasons are presented by Kelligan’s Cardiff-based Welsh Fargo Theatre Company.

Actor and director Kelligan said: “Love in Plastic is a very funny play telling us the story of Harold seeking out his new love, wearing a space suit, in a low-life Cardiff cafe. “The dive is run by the hilarious television comedy performer Boyd Clack who has, along with the other members of the cast, been in fits of laughter throughout the rehearsals.”

The other cast members are Philip Michell, Kathryn Dimery, who has recently completed a national tour of Cranford, and Dafydd Wyn Roberts.

Both Kelligan’s On the Edge project and Rowlands’ theatre company, Theatr Y Byd, cut their teeth in a pub in the Welsh capital, opposite Cardiff Castle. Both have gone on to produce works that now play a very important part in the Arts scene in Wales. Kelligan said the play makes some interesting observations on the nature of love, life and laughter. “Author Ian Rowlands writes metaphors to die for and displays an intriguing line in plot development and his roots are set deep in Welsh soil,” he said.

Kelligan’s artistic association with Rowlands began more than 30 years ago. They met as actors in a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which was the first On the Edge production this year, with The Wales Actors’ Company at the then Sherman Theatre. Kelligan added, “Ian’s work has been described as having a depth and originality from a playwright whose writing and ideas are forcing Welsh Theatre on to an international stage – an aim shared by my own Welsh Fargo Stage Company.”

 

Cast

Man – Philip Michell

Waiter – Boyd Clack

Woman – Kathryn Dimery

Agent – Dafydd Wyn Roberts

 

Director

Julie Barclay

 

Two Of Me Now by Susan Richardson

Performance

Chapter, Cardiff, Wed 27 April 2005, £3 on the door

Cast

Virginia Woolf – Kathryn Dimery

Sylvia Plath – Stacey Daly

Director

Sharon Morgan

Review

The On The Edge season of script-in-hand productions has always been good value for money but a double bill seems almost extravagant – and a couple of such contrasting plays as these even more so.In the event, neither lived up to expectations – though it was far from a boring evening in Chapter’s Media Centre (which oddly has nothing to do with media and has a bar but doesn’t serve drinks).Susan Richardson’s Two of Me Now has had plenty of outings before this Cardiff premiere, but I can’t imagine how it works as a full production because it isn’t really theatrical: two characters, the iconic writers Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, talking about the relationship between art and life, may be of some interest to academics but has few of the ingredients to create engaging drama.What it does have here is a brave direction from Sharon Morgan and a couple of clear-cut performances from Kathryn Dimery and Stacey Daly as a Woolf who thinks and a Plath who feels, two lives intersecting intellectually and parting emotionally. But there isn’t much that can be done with the script except have the pair occasionally speaking the same words, standing and sitting as two parts of the same feminine consciousness, occupying the similar and different ideological territories.

We don’t ever feel we are hearing the spoken voice here, and maybe each did talk as if she were writing – the text has all the hallmarks of a verbatim-theatre piece, a collage of extracts from books, essays and letters, and as such it might be more acceptable. But actually Ms Richardson has put her own words into the mouths of these two women and they are quite unconvincing; these are literary characters, not dramatic ones.

It’s intelligent, occasionally interesting, even tantalising in terms of where documentary ends and fiction begins as regards the characterisation, but it seems more of an exercise than a theatrical exploration of anything – and I didn’t end up knowing anything more about these fine writers and problematic people with difficult relationships.

 

 David Adams

A Blue Heron in the Womb by Ian Rowlands

Performance

Chapter, Cardiff , Mon 8 Nov 2004 £3 on the door

Cast

Man – Sean Carlsen

Sister – Kathryn Dimery

Woman – Karin Diamond

Mother – Anwen Williams

Father – Gareth Potter

Director

Michael Kelligan

Review

We haven’t heard much from Ian Rowlands, not so long ago heralded as one of Wales’s finest playwrights and a possible director for a national Welsh-language theatre company, so it’s good to be reminded that he is indeed one of the most erudite, provocative and literate craftsmen in contemporary Welsh drama.

His work isn’t easy, operating on many different levels, but it’s always stimulatingly aggressive and engaging – Blue Heron in the Womb, the last of his more familiar works (it was premiered in Glasgow six years ago and I recall it in a not-altogether successful staging at Mold the following year), has that recognisable signature theme of a guilt that’s mixed up with language and sex expressed in dialogue whose passion and poetry harks back to an earlier age of lyricism and wordplay.

Rowlands has been be accused of verbosity and most of his twenty or so plays (Marriage of Convenience is held to be his classic, but Pacific, Love in Plastic and Glissando on an Empty Harp are also well worth revisiting) are often better read than seen, but it’s an unfair charge – as this admirably simple production from Michael Kelligan as the final event in his season’s fascinating series of play-readings proves.

Here the gradually-evolving narrative – the gathering of a family to scatter the ashes of a dead child, with twin sisters revealing their tortured and tortuous relationships with the same absent lover – is as clear as it can be, although it isn’t exactly straightforward. The action swings back and forth in time and place with themes woven around Rowlands’s concern with nationhood – the play ends with the birth of another child and the consequent reversion of all the characters to Welsh, and we are reminded that it was written immediately after the vote for devolution.

Such allegorical content may or may not enhance the quality of the audience’s experience. Do we need to know the original Dylan Thomas use of the heron as a symbol of death ? Do we need to be aware of the way other writers have linked men’s dominance over women to imperial oppression ? Do we have to be aware of the recurring metaphors of the family, absent fathers, aborted children, mourning and so in the albeit limited canon of contemporary Welsh drama ?

Do we, indeed, need to know that much of this is based on the playwright’s own life ? Not really, but the degree to which it seems like an extended confessional is even more noticeable now than when it was first staged, even though the final speech used in this production is not the very personalised original one.

But too much concern with seeking out meanings can spoil our enjoyment of any play and it’s to the credit of this ad-hoc company that it worked, in the intimate environment of Chapter’s second space, so effectively as a startling piece of theatre.

Blue Heron the Womb is my favourite Rowlands play and I have to say that although this production was script-in-hand it more or less did the work justice and there were some excellent and committed performances, of an intensity and mastery that is quite unexpected in such events as these, from Sean Carlsen, Kath Dimery, Karin Diamond, Anwen Williams and Gareth Potter.

The rather peculiar genre of the “rehearsed reading” was actually exploited well, with some full-on performances and just minimal choreography that caught the balance between a full production and a lower-key staging that allows us more time to absorb the words. Considering the play starts with the stage direction “A man hovers six feet above Wales” and includes one attempted suicide leap from a mountain and one suicide by drowning, that’s no mean feat.

David Adams (Western Mail)