By Jackie Massaro
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The Readers’ Theatre’s upcoming production of Under Milk Wood will transport the audience to a small Welsh fishing village in the Victorian Era, where the lives of townsfolk will be exposed.
The production, which will be performed in April on the Blackwood campus, is an adaptation of the Dylan Thomas radio play. Allison Green adapted, produces and directs Under Milk Wood.
This has been produced only once as it was meant to be before Thomas died at age 36, so why pick this play? Green said she fell in love with the first voice in the beginning of the first act. It is a standard speech exercise and, as Green is a professor of speech, one can understand the connection.
Even though Under Milk Wood has been adapted for stage, it is being produced as a classic radio play with voice actors, live music and sound effects. Under Milk Wood has more than 60 characters, which means the cast of 10 will have multiple parts.
“This will be a stimulating experience for the audience,” Green said.
The production will have Teleprompters, voice actors in contemporary evening wear, and an original full-length feature film, as well as sharp dialogue.
“The piece is scathingly funny,” Green said. “I hope that the audience sees how tenderly, lovingly, but not with mockery, Dylan Thomas writes. It’s more: ‘we’re laughing at you, but we get it.’”
“This is more of a dramatic poem,” said Dan Patrick, a voice actor from the show. He will play Captain Cat, a blind, retired sea captain who serves as an oracle. “What makes this production unique is that not only are the readers reading, the film crew is putting together a visual film. I hope the combo of the reading and video will help people appreciate the poetry and the language. It’s kind of like reading Shakespeare, you have to have your ear tuned to it. The film aspect will help, kind of like subtitles.”
Paolo Pajarillo, a film student at Camden County College, has been helping with the production. “I feel like the last two or three months went by really fast, but this show is a pretty cool idea and is really ambitious,” Pajarillo said.
Under Milk Wood will be performed 8 p.m. April 17 and 18 and 2 p.m. April 19 at the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theatre in Lincoln Hall on the Blackwood campus. Free-will admission, suggested at $10 for students and senior citizens and $15 for others, will be requested. For more information or reservations, call (856) 227-7200, ext. 4362 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.