Keepers of the Way is a theatre project exploring some the amazing characters I've met, stories I've heard, and experiences I've had travelling through Wales. The aim is to bring them to life and share them with a wider community - bringing into focus the reality of rural life and travel.
It is a piece about people, interaction and movement; It's about choosing to interact. As a theatre-maker, I want it to challenge people's perceptions of our country, and make them fall in love with it again so they are compelled to travel, end up lost or without a lift, only to be rescued by their faith in others.
I feel very lucky to be given this opportunity to develop this piece. It's not your typical project, and it's something I didn't ever envisage I'd be able to explore in this way. I've been given the chance to return to a few of the places I travelled - taking my notebooks and laptop with me - and venture out to a few new places too. I'll hole-up somewhere for a while and bring out the faces etched in my memory, re-read the catchphrases and funny stories scribbled in the corners of my journals, and cast my mind back to the beginnings of the characters that have been emerging in this piece.
I want to breathe in the landscape, gargle the vowels and spit out the consonants of the old Welsh boys I've met, weave the sweet songs of the way - that force, the direction and energy that carries you forward on your journey. I will bring forth the characters that peered out of car windows - jeering raised thumbs in a moronic mirror of the forlorn figure wet in the road as they screeched by; I will rekindle conversations with travellers desperate for a voice other than their relentless radio; the calls of the Trolley-birds on the trains; the hoots of the young mums in their Fiestas; the growl of the barman in the pub whose toilets are for customers only; and the groan of the old lady's gears crunching into 1st when she really wanted 3rd. I will summon the sights and sounds that started this crazy idea, all those years ago.
For me this project is an opportunity to honour the journeys I've made, the people I've met and places I've visited. It's a chance to bring into being a new story that unites these, and draws upon new encounters along the way.
Tomorrow I set out. I'm anxious. I'm nervous. I'm shattered. But I'm packed. And I'm so very excited, because I know some of the crazy adventures I'll rediscover that have been waiting for me. I wonder what else is out there waiting for me?
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