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NWR Issue 108

150, Patagonia

A story as epic as the Welsh emigration to Patagonia requires an epic retelling, and in this, NTW has succeeded. Using English, Cymraeg, and Español to tell the story of the settlers from the Mimosa to the present day through dance, song, poetry and film, 150 is a vast multimedia exploration of home, hiraeth and hinterlands which fills the Royal Opera House warehouse in Aberdare to the rafters on an imaginatively grand scale.

The suspension of disbelief is disregarded at times as the narrators read from iPads while barely looking up. This can leave the impression of 150 being an interactive museum experience more than a gritty saga of the courageous yet somewhat naïve attempt to set up a colony of Welsh language and culture on the other side of the world. But despite this breaking of kayfabe, the production reminds us of our emotional connection with Y Wladfa in a timely memorial.

João Morais writes for New Welsh Review, recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Cardiff University and in 2013 won the Terry Hetherington Award for young writers. We published two comic narrative poems of his online in recent years, Oedipus Rex and Not OK, Cupid, as well as an extract from his novel, ‘The Anatomy of a Beating’, in NWR 100.

The production runs until 11 July at the Royal Opera Stores, Abercwmboi, near Aberdare, CF44 6DA (train to Cwmbach then signposted 15-minute walk). It is a National Theatre Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production in association with S4C. Creator & Director: Marc Rees. Age guidance: 12+. All performances are captioned in English and Welsh. Audio descriptions: Sat 11 July (in English and Welsh): Saturday 11 July, 1pm: English language Audio Description; Saturday 11 July, 7pm: English and Welsh language Audio Description. Tickets: £16.50 (£17.50)/ £14 conc (£15); £10 schools

Photo courtesy NTW: Marc Rees (L), Eddie Ladd (C) & Caroline Sabin (R)


previous blog: Philip Eglin, Slipping the Trail & Responding to the Buckley Pottery in the Aberystwyth Collection
next blog: The Good Earth, Chapter Arts Centre


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