National Eisteddfod to broadcast some of the drama world’s greatest monologues
Drama fans are in for a Welsh language treat next week as the Eisteddfod broadcast one of the drama world’s greatest monologues every evening to celebrate the Monologau’r Maes series.
Siân Phillips, Lauren Connelly, Lemfreck and John Ogwen will all star in short films shown on the festival’s digital channels at 8pm every night, in collaboration with Cwmni Theatr Invertigo.
Visual director, Griff Lynch and Steffan Donnelly from Cwmni Theatr Invertigo have directed the four performances, which are part of the Dramâu Cymru project.
Steffan said “It’s been a pleasure to work with these fantastic artists to create a series of soliloquies on film celebrating Welsh plays.
“These monologues link with my lockdown project to create an online platform showcasing Welsh plays and playwrights and tracing the history of Welsh language theatre.”
The project Dramau Cymru aims to produce a digital library, showcasing plays from Wales, which is useful to ordinary readers, theatre professionals, and academics.
The text is free to access and fully digitised, so that it can be searched by word or speaker. These monologues will join the remarkable archive which already contains over 100 plays.
On Monday 22 November at 8pm, Dame Siân Phillips will perform Siwan’s famous soliloquy from Act lll in Saunders Lewis’ iconic drama, Siwan. This will be shown on Facebook, the Eisteddfod website and YouTube channel.
Llanrumney actor and director Lauren Connelly will perform Liberty’s speech from Merched Caerdydd by Catrin Dafydd on Tuesday evening. The play, which was created as part of the 2018 Cardiff National Eisteddfod programme, went on to tour Wales with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.
On Wednesday evening, Newport songwriter, record producer and recording artist Lemfreck takes on one of the world’s greatest soliloquies from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, adapted into Welsh by JT Jones, in a performance filmed on the roof of the Globe Theatre in London.
The final monologue is Llywelyn’s heart-wrenching speech, which again comes from Saunders Lewis’ Siwan, performed by John Ogwen in Dolbadarn Castle, Llanberis.
Discussing his contribution to the project, Lemfreck, who has been rediscovering his relationship with Welsh, said, “I was completely unaware how much closer to the language it would bring me.
“My relationship to the language prior has been only when needed, yet I found myself almost rediscovering a language, I wanted to hold onto words that you don’t hear much these days.
“There’s a hidden beauty in these monologues, a difficult and complex one but I believe needs to be preserved somehow.”
There is also an opportunity to find out more about Dramâu Cymru on the digital platforms at 8pm on Friday 26 November.