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Under Milk Wood

September 23-27, 2014

Hedrick Little Theatre

Category: Theatre Productions

milkwood.jpgCatawba College's Theatre Arts Department presents a production of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas and directed by David Pulliam September 23-27, 2014 at 7:30pm in Hedrick Little Theatre.

2014 marks the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth; to celebrate the life of one of Wales’, and the worlds’ greatest literary talents Catawba College and the Theatre Arts Department invites you to -

“To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black….” The opening of Under Milk Wood draws you into Thomas’ story of a day in the life of the inhabitants of the small Welsh seaside village of Llareggub.


Depicting one full day; Thomas shows Llaregub’s motley residents as they awaken, perform their daily tasks, socialize, gossip, and daydream about the past that might have been and the future that may yet offer hope. As is always the case with Thomas, the "play" is full of alliteration and various kinds of rhyme, with nouns and adjectives used as verbs to convey action and sense impressions simultaneously.

Written as a "play for voices" for the BBC, this work was originally performed in 1954, with Richard Burton as the First Voice, connecting all thirty-three characters--men, women, and small children. BBC radio broadcast Under Milk Wood in 1954, so we will stage the production as a radio play.  Those who have seen a live or television broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” know how entertaining it can be to see actors reading the most unlikely characters while the onstage sound effects artists bring the environment to life.

Simple songs add to the sense of character and place. Polly Garter song remembering Willie and comparing him to her other lovers conveys an almost palpable sadness. A humorous singing game by children adds to the old world charm, and young Gwenny's song to three very young boys is full of cheeky humor. Filled with the hurly-burly of everyday life in a small town in 1950s Wales, Under Milk Wood and A Child's Christmas in Wales are among Thomas's most beloved works.

This “play for voices” is populated by some of the best-loved characters in literature, from blind Captain Cat to Polly Garter, Reverend Eli Jenkins to No Good Boyo.

Lyrically written, Under Milk Wood is both riotously funny and deeply moving, and although firmly rooted in place, the universality of the characters shines through, which is why it’s never been out of print, it’s been translated into around thirty different languages and is regularly performed all over the world.

We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood - prayer of the Reverend Eli Jenkins


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