Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood"

From: "will stackman"

Subject: Quicktake - "Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas

Date: Wed, March 1, 10:58 PM

Quicktake on UNDER MILK WOOD

     The award-winning Wellesley Summer Theatre jump starts the season with an ensemble production of Dylan Thomas' evocation of one spring day in a small Welsh fishing village much like his hometown. For "Under Milk Wood", director Nora Hussey has once again combined her veteran professionals with top student actresses in the company's unique style to evoke some fifty odd--often very odd--characters.

     The cast is headed up by Ed and Charlotte Peed, Lisa Foley, and Jackson Royal. Ed is memorable as the poetical Rev. Jenkins , Willy Nilly Postman and Mr. Pugh, the would-be poisoner and schoolmaster. Charlotte plays a collection of wives, from Mrs. Willy Nilly, who steams open the mail to Mrs. Pugh, the target of her husband's obsession. Lisa Foley is notable as Mrs. Ogmore Pritchard living with the ghosts of her two henpecked husbands and Rosie Probert, blind Capt. Cat's lost love. The old sailor is played by Jackson Royal, who hears the town from dawn to dusk from his window at the Sailors' Arms, which is home to Maryann Sailors, the oldest woman in town, also played by Foley. Spencer Christie is her son, Sinbad Sailors, the publican, supply bitter black ale to Derek Stone Nelson as Mr. Waldo, the town drunk. Stone is also the town's offical madman, Lord Cut Glass, who lives in a small house full of clocks. Sinbad is secretly in love with student company member Sarah Barton's Gossamer Beynon. the schoolmarm, daughter of the butcher. The Peeds play her parents. Newcomer student Rebecca Floyd plays Lily Smalls, dreaming of being "wicked" while herding goats. Gossamer is one of the object's of Spencer's Nogood Boyo's lust. Recent grad Victoria George is wayward Polly Garter, nursing another bastard and dreaming of "Little Willy Wee, who is dead, dead, dead" as well as Myfanwy Price, who keeps the sweet shop and carries on a postal romance with Mog Edwards, the draper at the other end of town, who's played by Marc Harpin. Haprin also plays the music-mad organist, Organ Morgan, the trial of his wife, played by Sarah Barton. And that's just a sampling of the inhabitants whom the ensemble switches between effortlessly.

    "Under Milk Wood" was originally written for a radio presentation, but has been produced onstage for the last half century--not often enough-- by companies brave enough to attempt it. The Burtons made a flawed but interesting movie of the piece in Wales, using mostly local actors. Production manager and lighting designer Ken Loewit, with set designer Tim. S. Hanna, have arranged the R.N.Jones Studio in the round with atmospheric lighting behind the seating, illuminating walls hung with netting an scraps of sails. Loewit's lighting effectively defines acting areas and the time of day. The unit set is a dock-like raised central platform with mooring posts conveniently placed for seating. The ensemble accessorizes their basic early 20th-century rural costumes, designed by Nancy Stevenson, with hats, shoes, and hand props to help change character, Two young women fiddlers, who didn't make it into the program, provide live music and effects. WST's next production is Oscar Wilde's least produced and most serious comedy, "An Ideal Husband" coming along May 30th. "Under Milk Wood" has only eleven more performances. It's worth the short drive to Wellesley.

"Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas, Mar.1 - 19

Wellesley Summer Theatre in Ruth Nagel Jones Studio

Alumni Hall, Wellesley College (781) 283 - 2000
Wellesley Summer Theatre