Chapter Excursion Survivors Group

Information

Chapter Excursion Survivors Group

We saw Mountains, Sand, Sea, Birmingham and a little more of the motorway than anticipated.

Location: Maybe Barmouth, maybe Llandudno
Members: 4
Latest Activity: Jul 17, 2010

Discussion Forum

This group does not have any discussions yet.

Comment Wall

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Chapter Excursion Survivors Group to add comments!

Comment by Jon Gower on July 17, 2010 at 2:15
Here's a review I wrote about the piece, underlining how much I loved it, I guess.

Sometimes theatre events are simply revivifying, enhancing your emotional circuitry and even, perhaps, giving it an upgrade. Marc Rees’ processional show in Barmouth was such an event, as bracing as the ozone charged sea air that comes in over the Mawddach estuary, a show to linger in the mind with the tenacity with which ‘Welcome to Barmouth’ rock sticks to your back molars.

It was as much an act of archeology as anything, unearthing the known and sometimes secret histories of this Gwynedd town and presenting them to the audience in an expansive and engaging range of ways. We heard the architectural history of a drapers’ shop, preserved in aspic on the High Street at the same time as being told the story of fashion guru Tommy Nutter. We considered the effects of war and heard tell of Charles Darwin, who wrote part of the Origin of Species here. But like a skillful museum curator Rees presented the material to arresting effect, planting the local historical facts and occasional revelations in unexpected places, so that you turned a corner and a Boer war veteran presented you with a shiny red apple to sweeten your progress.

It all started with a party, quite literally, and after high tea around a huge table in one of the town’s halls, served, of course in those ubiquitous porcelain cups, we donned day-glo jackets and divided into two groups, which were then guided over a mountain – which transpired to be the first ever gift to the National Trust – before threading through the gardens of houses which cling like limpets to the rock. On the beach we were treated to some old style calisthenics before being led through a gloriously chavish amusement arcade and on to the Sandancer nightclub which proclaims itself to be the best in mid Wales. It’s a place that smells of old lager and lust.

Here a lone soldier, played by Cai Tomos took off his Second World War tunic, folding it carefully. Dry ice cascaded and some pounding Boys town music blasted out of the speakers as Tomos launched into supercharged, testosterone fuelled dance, working through motions of anger, frustration and violence, twisting in nets of sexuality. In this it was territory familiar to Marc Rees’ cognoscenti, but then came a further twist. The ticket seller from the booth downstairs, Joanie Williams came in to join him, intimating that this was her beau, who never returned from the trenches. And then the woman and her ghost danced in close embrace, tender and affecting moments that had some of us weeping quietly. And then it was all too quickly over and back we went into the sunshine.

It’s hard to list all the elements of the show, what with putting on false beards to mimic the myriad photographs of seamen in the fusty Sailors Institute to joining a noisy if unmusical gazoo orchestra playing Jean Michele Jarre’s ‘Oxygene’ as we trailed after a model of Sabu the Elephant. Or listening in to the fractured final conversation between ground control and the doomed crewmember of a Lancaster bomber, which crashed in the estuary. Or enjoying grandfather Gwynfor Owen and his granddaughter singing an acapella account of the trad favourite Ar Lan y Mor, complete with local references to the blind harpist who used to entertain visitors to the town. Or the marvellous experience of walking out on to the toll bridge which extends over the river to swing lengths of plastic pipe to capture the wind. To witness, to the accompanying soundtrack of this Aeolian wind section the lovers again, now the young lovers, running past, unheedful of the audience, having eyes only for each other.

This was National Theatre Wales’ fourth production and takes its place in my personal pantheon of fabulous theatre alongside Complicite’s ‘Street of Crocodiles,’ when I simply didn’t want to leave my seat at the end lest the magic be dispelled, and Robert Lepage’s ‘Seven Streams of the River Ota,’ which was so beautiful it brought on an asthma attack.

When ‘For Mountain Sand and Sea’ finally concluded, with the cast flagging nautica; signals from a perch high above us, I felt supercharged, extra-alive, and I could have happily watched it all over again, straight away, no messing. That doesn’t often happen too often in the theatre in Wales, so I doff my sailor’s cap to a talented, gifted crew who showed us wonders in a small seaside town.
Comment by Reema Gehi on July 5, 2010 at 13:17
Of course, we survived and how!! However, it was a wonderful experience.. :-) xx
 

Members (4)

 
 
 

image block identification

© 2022   Created by National Theatre Wales.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service