Under Milk Wood

Image: Under Milk Wood, a play for voices by Dylan Thomas; logo by Mary Kean

Dylan Thomas

...a play for voices...

The Snow & Associates production of 'Under Milk Wood' by Dylan Thomas was founded in NYC in 1993. It appears on college and university campuses, regional theatres and selected commercial venues. The company is available for bookings in the year 2005 and following.

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  • Tecleo aquí para una traducción áspera en español.
  • Klicken hier für eine Rohübersetzung auf Deutsch.
  • Scattarsi qui per una traduzione in italiano.

  • "... when I go to the theatre,
    I expect miracles.
    I fully believe that characters will appear,
    stories will be told,
    mysteries raveled and unraveled.
    ... despite incredible odds
    and usually only part of the time,
    it happens.
    Saturday night’s performance of
    Under Milk Wood
    in the production directed by Dan Snow
    was one of those happenings."

    -- George Walker, WFIU

    We extend our thanks to all participants in the 6/29/97 celebration for our late director, James MacAaron, including a special guest appearance by Tony Randall.

    Click HERE for pictures.

    Click HERE for info about the cast and crew.

    Image: Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

    Click on the image above
    for info about the dance version,
    performed at the
    John Waldon Arts Center
    Bloomington, Indiana
    (Home of Indiana University)

    Project Description:

    Excess of sorrow laughs; excess of joy weeps.

    --William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

    DYLAN THOMAS gave an early draft of Under Milk Wood an apt title: The Town Was Mad. Contrary to the traditional depiction of the setting as a quaint Welsh seaport, a careful reading of the text suggests a very different view:

    The ficticious town that Dylan Thomas named "Llareggub" is a community populated by bigamists, pedophiles, necrophiles, nymphomaniacs, satanists, and cannibals... to name just a few of its 'colourful little eccentricities.' It is a town where dysfunctions ranging from alcoholism to xenophobia are a way of life. Even the name of the place is "buggerall" spelled backwards.

    As one of the townsfolk remarks in a seemingly offhand way, There's a nasty lot that live here, when you come to think. This apparently inconspicuous comment reveals much about the subtext of the story, which has become the focus of this production.

    Unlike the conventional representation of Llareggub as the kind of quaint little Welsh village one might view in a cheerfully coloured travelogue, this production recognises the darker side of life which lies hidden... "UNDER Milk Wood." Without diminishing the beauty of Thomas' language, or his sense of humour, it reveals a sense of the macabre core that underlies Llareggub's thin veneer of lovable pastoral eccentricity.

    This production lands somewhere between Our Town and Deliverance, yet it is full of humour. Yes, the audience laughs, often and loudly. What's so funny about a town full of sociopaths? We believe that Dylan Thomas knew the answer: that life is better lived with a dark passion than a squeaky-clean complaisance; that with all their flaws, the denizens of Llareggub are divine creations, deserving of forgiveness and acceptance, laughter and love.

    Mirroring the playwright's appeal to his audience, near the conclusion of the play, the Reverend Eli Jenkins prays to his creator:

    We are not wholly bad or good
    Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
    And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
    To see our best side, not our worst.

    Thomas' characters make us laugh, even as they engage in a myriad of sins more deadly than those normally commited by those of us in the outside world. Why do we laugh? Because, in spite of their sins, these outlandish characters are not so very different from you and me.

    This production forces members of the audience to interrupt their laughter and ask the chilling question: "What are we laughing at?" And the answer may very well be: "Ourselves."

    --Jonathan Hamel
    --Danny O Snow

    More Commentary about Under Milk Wood:

    "Windfall Dancers' most ambitious, remarkable collaboration
    was September's Under Milk Wood.
    Dan Snow directed this adaptation of the Dylan Thomas text,
    which three Windfallers choreographed.
    Each cast member took multiple roles,
    Rachel Hamilton narrated, and Erin Shrader fiddled brilliantly.
    From ghosts to murder to evening revels,
    the show dramatized Thomas' surreal poetry
    with striking movement, lively music, and bold staging."

    -- Naomi Ritter, Bloomington Independent

    "The lush and earthy language
    at times almost thunders
    and at times almost whispers
    to the audience."

    -- Jack Felix, Williamsport Sun-Gazette

    "Under Milk Wood
    has been often staged,
    and most successfully ...
    allowing the voices
    to work their own magic."

    -- Clive Barnes, New York Post

    "It's masterful writing.
    It's beautiful.
    It's Dylan Thomas."

    -- Marion Garmel, Indianapolis Star

    "... A solid, entertaining production,
    sustained by a well-rehearsed and gifted cast ..."

    -- Nick Riddle, Bloomington Independent

    James MacAaron, 1929-1997

    This production is dedicated to the memory of

    James MacAaron

    Director, Actor, Mentor, Friend

    Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels
    sing thee to thy rest.

    To request information about booking performances of Under Milk Wood please send e-mail to:

    The fine print:
    All text and images © Snow & Associates
    Logo by Mary Kean
    Photo of Sept. '99 show by Shawn-Paul Luchin
    Last updated: 15 April 2003
    URL for this site:
    http: // www. arch. org / milkwood. htm

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