Star story docks
EXPECT to step aboard an intense emotional journey when a dramatisation of the Arandora Star story docks at Neath's Gwyn Hall today and tomorrow.
Theatre na n'Óg presents this affecting piece of theatre based on the true story of wartime civilian internees, many of whom lost their lives when their transport ship was torpedoed in transit to Canada.
The piece, designed for children and for adults, pin-balls from heart-tugging emotional moments to broad, winning comedy — thanks largely to the deft physical comedy skills of Dafydd Rhys Evans — to gripping and tense drama.
Four actors take on all the roles in the story, told by Lina, a daddy's girl whose father Guido is dragged from his Mumbles cafe by his former dominoes partner PC Dai Evans, to be taken off on the ill-fated ship to a camp.
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With many in South Wales — some likely to be in the audience — having their own tales of the Arandora Star disaster, of grandparents and parents who were scarred by the event, the task of collating their experiences and creating a piece of theatre which did them justice was never going to be easy.
But artistic director and writer Geinor Styles has created a heartfelt and a fluent piece of work.
Geinor says since so many Welsh Italians living in and around Swansea were affected by the disaster there is an extra weight of responsibility on everyone involved in presenting this drama.
"We have met some of the people involved in the Arandora Star memorial, and some of those who had family members on the Arandora Star have seen our production. Some have been so upset they have had to leave. But it is such an important story and one I think children need to know about.
"It has been very interesting to see how the children have reacted. With stories that are so emotive you sometimes wonder whether they will be able to take on board all the issues, but as we find so often at Theatre na n'Óg children are very sophisticated. And they have been so moved by the Arandora Star story. You could hear a pin drop during these performances."
Dion Davies, Dafydd Rhys Evans, Carys John and Crisian Emanuel feature,
with performances at 1pm and 7.30pm today and at 1pm tomorrow.