A Ladder of Words - Mid-Twentieth-Century Welsh Plays in English
Publication Date: 16 November 2020
Publisher: Parthian Books
Edited by David Cottis
Format: Paperback, 205x128 mm, 446 pages
This volume brings together three Welsh plays from the middle of the twentieth century: 'Rhondda Roundabout' (1939) by Jack Jones, 'The Druid's Rest' (1944) by Emlyn Williams and 'After My Fashion' (1952) by Diana Morgan.
The following has been provided by the Publisher:
When the north Wales-born actor and playwright Emlyn Williams performed his one-man show about Dylan Thomas, the critic Richard Findlater described him as ‘unravelling a ladder of words’ which he then climbs up, and pulls the spectators after him. Findlater called this ‘the Cambrian rope trick’, highlighting the process by which writers, and Welsh writers in particular, use the power of language to take an audience into an unfamiliar world.
This volume brings together three Welsh plays from the middle of the twentieth century: Rhondda Roundabout
(1939) by Jack Jones, from his own novel, a panoramic view of politics, religion, sport and music in the Valleys, described by the Sunday Times critic James Agate as ‘too good for the West End’, The Druid’s Rest (1944) by Emlyn Williams, a semi-autobiographical comedy about the fantasy life of an over-imaginative boy who suspects that an Englishman on a walking tour is actually a famous murderer, and After My Fashion (1952) by Diana Morgan, in which the widows of men who died on a Tibetan expedition discover untold secrets when approached by a film company, inspired by the Cardiff-born author’s own experiences as a screenwriter at Ealing Studios, which also formed the basis for the recent novel and film Their Finest.
Edited and with an introduction by David Cottis, and following on from A Dirty Broth, which looked at the
pioneers of the Welsh theatre in English, A Ladder of Words explores the period either side of the Second World War, a time when Welsh playwrights enjoyed unprecedented commercial success, both at home and in the West End.
David Cottis is Lecturer in Scriptwriting at Middlesex University, and a theatre writer/director. He lives in London and Cardiff.