Magnificent Myths of the Mabinogi 2009

In 2008 Manon Eames presented a miraculous stage version of the full Mabinogi in Aberystwyth. (My report here, with link to some photos)

The following year Jill Williams presented a slightly adapted version perfomed at the Pontardawe Arts centre by her own stage school Class Act. Like the original, the acting team were all very young, yet the depth and complexity of the performance was truly amazing.

Jill Williams, Pontardawe.

Jill Williams, Pontardawe.

The set, using stage platforms on different levels; the atmospheric lighting, and the exquisitely appropriate costumes, all helped to take us into the timeless world of the Mabinogi.  The setting was the tribal past, mediaeval Wales, and even by way of voice tones and quick asides, modern Wales. This is just as it should be, a composite made all the better by skilful use of both the Cymraeg and English.

It is a great sadness that neither Eames mighty original, nor Williams wonderful continuance, was filmed. Let us hope this is staged again, and this time, caught on video.

Magnificent Myths of the Mabinogi 2008

Manon Eames produced a truly magnificent performance of the Mabinogi, performed by the National Youth Theatre at Aberystwyth in 2008. The entire world of the Four Branches is brought to full, enchanted life, on stage.  A perfection of Mabinogi.

Alex Robertson set designer.

Alex Robertson set designer.

A powerful and dramatically effective structure employed is a chorus (as in Greek plays), so that a crowd, a group of maids, an audience within the play, give group responses. This worked very well, in creating a rich counterpoint between the striking, major characters and the lesser ones.

The set and costume design by Alex Robertson is an especially powerful evocation of Mabinogi atmosphere.  Photos here and one example above.

National Youth Theatre Wales, national tour, 2008
Playwright Manon Eames
Director; Tim Baker
Lighting Designer; Ace McCarron
Musical Director; Dyfan Jones
Fellow Design Team; Guto Humphreys, Llinos Griffiths, Jo Nicholls

Welsh Prose 1300 -1425: Mabinogion

Original Welsh source texts, i.e. manuscript text, sometimes with variants from several manuscripts.  Includes Llyfr Gwyn, Llyfr Coch, and the Peniarth fragments.

Searching allows you to locate where particular words are used in any or all of the manuscripts; the  word list presents a guided index of all words used in the manuscripts.  Very useful to find other references to a topic. Variant spellings can also be traced.

Categorised and published University of Wales, Cardiff.