Michael Kelligan is now in the eleventh year of his On The Edge project, presenting script-held performances of new plays by Welsh and Wales based writers.
Next time On The Edge
The Undead Poets Society by John Hussey- Poets on a murder hunt!
Dylan Thomas takes time off from his 100 years birthday celebration and joins John Betjeman, Philip Larkin,Ted Hughes, and Sylvia Plath on a murder hunt! They will be joined by Nick McGaughey, Richard Mark Milne, Dafydd Wyn Roberts, Natalie Paisley, Peter Knight, Polly Kilpatrick and Michael Kelligan who will assist them with their investigations and become members of THE UNDEAD POETS SOCIETY.
The latest in the Welsh Fargo Stage Company‘sseries of “On The Edge” play-readings at Chapter provided a rare opportunity to sample the work of the kind of playwright whose work routinely runs off-Broadway: “The Way Of Water”, by OBIE-Award-winning Caridad Svich; a piece which has received many readings over the past few years, but apparently (and inexplicably) no full productions.
The action focusses on two couples in their thirties, former high-school friends struggling to survive, both physically and financially, in the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Jimmy and Yuki scratch a living from fishing, their wives Rosalie and Neva from handicrafts; all around them people are falling ill, probably (but unprovably) due to contaminated water, and now Jimmy is starting to suffer from seizures…
The writing is poetic in a naturalistic way, apart from a few lapses into monologue (some of which seemed to break the coherence of the piece); the tone is gloomy in terms of politics (lives and communities torn apart by uncaring capitalism) but optimistic re the human spirit – “The Grapes of Wrath” is explicitly referenced. The cast, as usual, is exemplary, director Bethan Morgan encouraging Nick Wayland-Evans to make the most of his imposing physicality in the pivotal role of the broken former wrestling hero Jimmy; Dick Bradnum and Polly Kilpatrick spirited and engaging as Yuki and Rosalie; Rebecca Knowles as the pregnant Neva hinting at a hidden darkness (there is a mention of rehab which is not pursued).
Not exactly a barrel of laughs, but warm, poignant and beautifully realised.