Mametz

Owen Sheers

Mametz by Owen Sheers is one of a choice of six set plays on WJEC’s A level Drama specification.

2 in stock

£9.99
Format
Paperback
ISBN
9780571332250
Date Published
02.03.2017
Delivery
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Summary

‘“For years afterwards the farmers found them – the wasted young, turning up under their plough blades.” So run the blunt, grimly beautiful opening lines of the Welsh poet Owen Sheers’s elegy for the men, 4,000 of them from the 38th (Welsh) Division, who were killed or wounded in the Battle of Mametz Wood in July 1916… Sheers revisits that chapter of carnage in a stirring, sprawling promenade show… He draws on the writings of two survivors in particular. One is the poet David Jones whose fractured, enervated, modernist response to his war-time experiences, In Parenthesis, was hailed as a “work of genius” by TS Eliot. The other key influence is the writer Llewelyn Wyn Griffith… driven to wondering how the sun “could shine on this mad cruelty and on the quiet peace of an upland tarn near Snowdon”… We end up in dark woods and a place of numb desolation, bombarded by words that pierce the heart and vignettes that capture the stomach-churning sacrifice… The finest commemoration of the First World War centenary I’ve seen to-date, this deserves a much longer life.’ Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

Mametz by Owen Sheers was premiered by National Theatre Wales in June 2014. It is one of the set plays on WJEC’s A level Drama specification. This dual edition combines the original English-language play with a Welsh-language translation by Ceri Wyn Jones, one of Wales’s most eminent poets.

Critic Reviews

“For years afterwards the farmers found them – the wasted young, turning up under their plough blades.” So run the blunt, grimly beautiful opening lines of the Welsh poet Owen Sheers’s elegy for the men, 4,000 of them from the 38th (Welsh) Division, who were killed or wounded in the Battle of Mametz Wood in July 1916, among the many costly attacks that took place in the First Battle of the Somme… Sheers revisits that chapter of carnage in a stirring, sprawling promenade show… Among the many questions Mametz leaves you pondering is whether you need to go to some corner of a foreign field to commemorate the Great War dead or can pay tribute by looking at the landscape they never returned to. Furthermore, incorporating references to Einstein’s emerging theory of relativity, an advance for mankind just as it was going backwards, it throws what we think of as “the past” into doubt.
The piece begins as a parody of a battlefield experience tour, with a brolly-wielding professor talking loudly and taking the assembled hordes through a mock-up support trench, as gunfire booms in the distance. Two hours later, we end up in dark woods and a place of numb desolation, bombarded by words that pierce the heart and vignettes that capture the stomach-churning sacrifice.
Along with imagined exchanges in a recreated trench and poignant letters home, Sheers draws on the writings of two survivors in particular. One is the poet David Jones, whose fractured, enervated, modernist response to his war-time experiences, In Parenthesis (1937), was hailed as a “work of genius” by TS Eliot. The other key influence is the writer Llewelyn Wyn Griffith,… driven to wondering how the sun “could shine on this mad cruelty and on the quiet peace of an upland tarn near Snowdon”, as if time itself has been wounded. Poetry and science collide at this point: you see what he means, you feel it in your bones too. The finest commemoration of the First World War centenary I’ve seen to-date, this deserves a much longer life.

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
Critic Reviews

The dead rise from beneath the earth, flesh and blood from fragments of bone...fresh and visceral.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Critic Reviews

Takes immersive theatre to a nerve-shredding new level...the most impressive, inspiring and deeply moving live performance I have ever witnessed... If you only take in one piece of WWI drama over these four years, this is it.

Jane Oriel, The Big Issue
Critic Reviews

The finest commemoration of the Welsh contribution to the Great War.

Elin Williams, The Arts Desk
OwenSheers

Owen Sheers is a poet, novelist and playwright. Twice winner of the Wales Book of the Year, his books of poetry include Skirrid Hill, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, and the verse drama Pink Mist, winner of the Hay Festival Poetry Medal. In 2018 he was awarded the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award. Owen’s theatrical work includes The Two Worlds…

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