According to the 2011 UK Census, the number of Welsh speakers has fallen slightly since 2001, even in Wales itself. With that in mind, you might be forgiven for thinking that putting on a Welsh-language play in the middle of London would be a losing proposition.
Aled Pedrick hopes to prove you wrong. The actor and director is putting on a production of Gwenlyn Parry’s “Saer Doliau,” which translates to “The Doll Maker.” The play will run at the Finborough Theatre until the 19th of February.
Pedrick told WalesOnline that while staging a Welsh language play in London was bound to be challenging,
“[W]hen the Invertigo Theatre Company – two of whom are Welsh-speaking graduates from my alma mater, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – approached me with the idea, I was intrigued. And, being a London-based Welsh speaker myself, I knew that there was quite a sizeable community of similar sorts living here, many of whom work in the theatre themselves. So I figured there’d be quite a bit of interest in something like this from the off.”
The play is written and performed entirely in Welsh, but Mr. Pedrick told WalesOnline that “while the actors’ dialogue might be in Welsh, what they’re saying isn’t tied down to one single nationality.”
“Saer Doliau” tells the story of a Welsh doll mender tormented by two mysterious strangers, both of whom may or may not be hallucinations. The set incorporates a subtitle machine, so even if you don’t speak Welsh at all, you can understand what’s going on.
This review calls the subtitles “spare” and says that the setup “works very well for those who do not know any Welsh but offers a great deal more to those that do, for whom it should definitely be compulsory viewing.”
If you’re in the area and interested in attending, tickets and showtimes can be found here.