Under Milk Wood: A Play For Voices
Completed only a month before Dylan Thomas died, Under Milk Wood is an inspired and irreverent account of life and love in a small coastal village in Wales one spring day. Full of raucous energy and lyrical passion, it is the most complete expression of Thomas' unique perspective on the huma...more
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The voices of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood rise and fall, crashing into each other like waves under a milky moon, their sweet prose an effervescence of sounds and syllables to intoxicate the soul. This ‘play for voices’ follows the lives of the citizens of Milk Wood across a full day, bookmarked by the surrealistically sensational dream sequences of the two nights. The play simply engulfs you in its beautiful embrace, like the wa ...more
Some works of literature just beg to be read out loud - This is the House that Jack Built and Hiawatha are two that most people are familiar with. Under Milk Wood too, is better appreciated read aloud.
A sample (read aloud with Welsh accent, sing-song, go up like a question at the end of the line):
Mr Pugh, in the School House opposite, takes up the morning
tea to Mrs Pugh, and whispers on the stairs
Here's your arseni ...more
From husbands purchasing books on how to poison their wives to the terribl ...more
1. I grew up in Wales
2. I read his book Under Milk Wood when I was in school.
Wales is a strange place to grow up. For a start you're told as a child that it's full of castles and dragons and daffodils and that there is evil over the border (England) and that Rugby is the one true sport. Some of those things are true. I'm sure even Dylan Thomas thought them from time to time. I lived outside Cardiff and Thomas was busily engaged in being Welsh in and around the ...more
In the tradition of small towns (both fictional and nonfictional), everyone has a big secret. Ea ...more
One joy of being an English teacher is teaching your favourite texts to someone new - which I'm pretty sure was what was happening to to me, the first time I was taught this. It wasn't on the syllabus.
Another joy is that you can take playful, inventive, poetic language and give it to a kid who's in ...more
Dylan Thomas originally intended this work to be radio play. However, my first experience of it was seeing the film adaptation narrated by Richard Burton, back when I was in high school in the 1970s. I remember two things about the experience: loving the sound of Richard Burton's voice, and feeling overwhelmed. This extract from the review in the New York Times goes some way to explaining my reaction:
Too many words, perhaps, for the stage. Too many words, I'm convinced, for the screen. It's not...more
If you only knew Dylan Thomas from his short poems (as I did before I read this) then prepare for a very pleasant shock. The wonderful rhythm of the lines here, the extraordinary creativity of compound words and unexpected similes, all sustained over a considerable distance, is something quit ...more
Under Milk Wood has a texture of a lyrical myth so it is timeless…
People sleep and they dream... People wake up and they play fools, dawdle, muck around, misbehave, recollect, fantasize and build castles in the air…
“There's the clip clop of horses on the sun-honeyed cobbles of the humming streets, hammering of horse-shoes, gobble quack and cackle, tomtit twitter from t ...more
Give me the parcel.
WILLY NILLY [postman whose wife reads all the mail to him before he delivers it:]
It's for Mr Pugh, Mrs Pugh.
Never you mind. What's inside it?
A book called Lives of the Great Poisoners.
Persons with manners do not read at table,
says Mrs Pugh. She swallows a digestive tablet as big as a
horse-pill, washing it down with clouded peasoup water.
Some persons were brought up in pigsties.
Pigs don't r ...more
I don't know Llarregub about many things, but I do know that Thomas's sloe black, crow black, boat-bobbing, poetic creation was one of the most enjoyable books that I read in school.
If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with his magical mischievousness, then please do!
I should also say that this is not a monologue. Burton is the narrator but there is also a full cast of actors reading all the parts, which brings the play to life and gives it depth.
If you liked reading the play, listen to this and feel its power. I might try liste ...more
Time passes. Listen. Time passes.
Come closer now.
Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt and
silent black, bandaged night. Only you can see, in ...more
But what of the text? I picked up a copy from a small independent bookshop whilst shopping in Beverley with my daughter for a student cook book, ...more
The introduction to this edition, ...more
A great aesthetic play, but that's where it stops for me.
Well, I’m officially a Dylan Thomas fan. At first, I thought, “A poet writing a play? Hmmm….” But then the moment I read the opening line, I had to read the entire thing: “It is Spring, moonless night int he small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.”
Not surprisingly, there isn’t much of a plot here, really. It’s more of a lyrical an ...more
Under Milk Wood is very hard to pin down as it's a mix of so many things, and that's what makes it so astonishingly brilliant. It delve ...more
I give it three stars on the page and five stars audio.
I hadn't read Under Milk Wood before I saw the film version in the early 1970s at the cinema. I loved the film, and what a ...more
Edit: Ok, not to DO Dylan Thomas. Jesus Christ, people...
In addition to poetry, Thomas also wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, with the latter frequently performed by Thomas himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his booming, at times ostentatious, voice with a subt ...more