The infamous poet, Dylan Thomas, is reported to have commented that Under Milk Wood was developed in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, as a way of reasserting the evidence of beauty in the world. If that was the case, then a play such as this should be written every day.
With everyday events of human rights abuse in Tibet, extreme world food shortages and the ever present war tearing apart nations, then theatre and the arts in general, needs to reassert the evidence of beauty at every possible opening. Living in a country where freedom of speech is a luxury, compared to some, and human rights come at very, very little cost, we need to take advantage of that fact.
As theatre makers, I believe it is absolutely vital, a duty perhaps, to search and expose the splendour that does exist in the world. Even if it takes a great amount of time, to use the cliché “Rome wasn’t built in a day” – Thomas worked on Under Milk Wood for eight years and what he eventually produced was an astonishing feat and an incredible commentary on the world at large, I think we’d all agree this is a lesson we can learn.
I accept that, in this day, we don’t have the time to write a masterpiece over an amount of years, although some attempt at this would be a tribute to writers’, such as Thomas, to theatre and audiences and it is somewhere to be aiming for.
It is then fitting, in these troubled times, that Under Milk Wood should be appearing at the Tricycle Theatre for two weeks in May. Director “Malcolm Taylor’s new, simply staged production gives full rein to the words and majesty of Thomas’ timeless masterpiece.” This is a fantastic opportunity for an audience to lend their ears and eyes to be seduced by Thomas’ words once again and also to be reminded of the beauty in the world.