Saethu Cwningod/Shooting Rabbits
This month, politically-charged theatre company PowderHouse are bringing to the stage their first production as a Company In Residence at the Sherman, Saethu Cwningod/Shooting Rabbits. It’s set during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), when some 300 Welsh people went into the International Brigades to combat fascism in Spain. It tells the tale of a passionate young man who travels to Spain to fight for his beliefs, unprepared for the choices he will be forced to make, and the production focuses on the relationship between Wales and Europe in this time of tension and ambiguity.
PowderHouse, founded by Chelsey Gillard and Jac Ifan Moore, came about with the intention to create intercontinental, relevant and contemporary theatre with a Welsh voice. Using vigorous imagery and dynamic storytelling paired with live music, writers/directors Gillard and Moore hope to create a potent political narrative.
Saethu Cwningod/Shooting Rabbits has also been made with talent from across Europe, with the production making use of Welsh, English, Spanish and Basque languages. As Gillard says: “We are a little bit tired of this idea that you can only enjoy theatre or art that is in the language you speak. We always go and see plays that are in other languages, and it’s the strength of the story and performance that makes it clear enough to engage with.”
Performers include Alejandra Bacelar Pereira, Gwenllian Higginson and Neal McWilliams; Gillard speaks of the importance of a flexible cast. “As we were selecting the cast it was really important that they can be convincing as characters with a script but also really physical characters as well.”
Guitarist Sam Humphreys adds another voice to the production with live performance. Says Moore, “The music is another character/voice; it can be used to set the mood, directly in conversation. The musician is live with the other cast members, contributing like the actors.”
The show premieres in Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre on Wed 1 May, continuing there until Sat 4 before moving on to Mold’s Theatr Clwyd (Tue 7), Aberystywth Arts Centre (Thurs 9) and the Miners Theatre, Ammanford (Fri 10). DYLAN BELLIS
Various venues, Wed 1-Fri 10 May. Tickets: £10-£16. Info: www.shermantheatre.co.uk