Paul T Davies reviews TEN, a series of ten short plays by Welsh playwrights now streaming through the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff.
So how is your online theatre experience so far? Do you find different screen suit different genres? National Theatre at Home, for me, has to be viewed on the telly- those productions are too expansive and epic to be viewed on a smaller screen. The laptop is the perfect size for work that hasn’t had the technical advantages of a cinema broadcast, but for monologues I am finding my mobile phone is the perfect device.
Cardiff’ Sherman Theatre are doing a mighty fine job with TEN, inspired by Papatango’s Isolated but Open programme, ten plays by Welsh talents, perfect to watch during a tea break. The range so far has been extraordinary, each one has a different feel. Particular highlights for me has been Gary Owen’s Mum and Dad. Dad, although short, is a haunting monologue performed by Michael Sheen, but it’s Mum that really got me. Lynn Hunter gives an extraordinary performance, subtly underlining that key moments from our childhood mark and remain with us forever. I felt she had face times me hr confession about her cruel father.
The Welsh language is celebrated in Alun Saunder’s exquisite Zip, performed with melancholic energy by Gillian Elisa. On the surface, nothing much is happening, it’s just another boring day in lockdown. But sadness tinged with bitterness enhance the script and performance, as we all miss the world we used to know. (The piece is subtitled so don’t shy away from it.) A particular brand of Welsh stoicism runs through all the pieces, and shines through in (Single) Motherhood by Alexandria Riley performed by Mali Ann Rees- the feeling that we just have to get on with it, no matter how tough, we do what is necessary.
The project is still ongoing, but the pieces won’t be hanging around forever, so head to the Sherman website, make a cuppa, and select a story to be told to you- personally. If you are able to make a donation to the theatre, even better.