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Performing Arts students stage Under Milkwood

Performing Arts students stage Under Milkwood

UCOL Performing Arts students will stage the challenging Dylan Thomas play Under Milkwood this week – giving new meaning to ‘multi-tasking’.

The multitude of characters – over sixty in all, from children, town gossips and aged sea captains to ghosts and mysterious “voices” that guide the audience – mean that each student plays around six characters.

The first semester students will take part in the play as their final assignment in the Certificate in Performing Arts.

The production runs Friday night 20 June, Monday 22 June and finally on Tuesday 23 June at the Buckman Studio Theatre on King Street in Palmerston North.
Programme leader Penni Bousfield says the play has been adapted from a radio play to a stage play for the student performance. “However the well known lyrical, even magical elements remain. It’s a rare chance to see an iconic play that is not staged frequently.”

Under Milkwood is believed to have been written by Dylan Thomas as a response to the Hiroshima bombings “to reassert the evidence of beauty in the world”. It was first read in New York in 1953 –six months before Thomas’ death. The play is famous for its poetic language and bawdy comedy.

It is set in the fictional seaside Welsh village of Llareggub (‘bugger-all’ spelled backwards), the play opens by asking the audience to listen and discover the dreams of the slumbering townsfolk. As dawn breaks on a spring day, the audience is asked to watch as the villagers wake and go about their lives, before returning once more to slumber at the close of the play.

The students are studying for the Certificate in Performing Arts, a six month programme that provides foundation knowledge and skills in acting, dance, singing, musical theatre, voice and acting for camera.


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