This is a thrilling new play by Rhydian Gwyn Lewis – winner of the Drama Medal at Cardiff National Eisteddfod 2018. Rhydian is originally from Caernarfon, but now lives in Grangetown, Cardiff. He works as a script editor on Pobol y Cwm and enjoys writing and composing in his spare time.
I have never taken much of an interest in politics. I haven’t been one for following the discussions in the House of Commons or the Senedd, nor have I tried to predict what the future holds for politics in Wales. Nowadays, however, it’s impossible to avoid it. Over recent years, Facebook and Twitter have provided a hub for intense political arguments, and several depressing sessions of scrolling through my phone have led to me feeling despondent and angry, and even hiding the phone in a drawer so that I can pretend the whole thing isn’t real!
And as I saw the arguments between young people becoming more widespread (even if only to decide whether ‘Popty Ping’ or ‘Meicrodon’ is the correct Welsh term for ‘Microwave’!), I started to wonder where all this was leading. How far will the arguments go, and what will it take for someone to eventually crack and actually do something? When will the keyboard warriors turn into real-life warriors?
I decided to set the play in the fairly near future and see how a group of young Welsh-speakers might react if the future of Wales, as a country, was at stake as it was about to be joined with England. Having been pushed to the limit, the group turn to insurrection in order to try and hold on to some kind of independence; but, as is often the case on Twitter, arguments and discord amongst the group threaten the success of their plan.
Following the play’s success in the Drama Medal competition at the 2018 National Eisteddfod, I was given a golden opportunity to work with Sarah Bickerton to strengthen the script and enrich this partly-imaginary world set in the future. Her guidance, and her way of making me question every aspect of the lives of Welsh-speakers in the future, were key elements in ensuring that the political world forming the backdrop for the play is both credible and feasible, and that we are creating a dramatic dynamic between the characters who are responsible for endangering the success of their plan. Chatting with Professor Richard Wyn Jones was also a valuable experience which helped me to envisage our country’s political path in the future, and the contribution made by Ffion Dafis and the actors were a great help as I fine-tuned and developed the characters.
‘X’ is a play about Welsh people; about Welsh-speaking characters and young people who are being forced to act in order to save their country, and a play that has made me take an interest in politics because, nowadays, there is no way of escaping it. I couldn’t hide that phone in the drawer for ever!
Rhydian Gwyn Lewis, the play’s author.
More details about the production, including performance dates and times at the Conwy County National Eisteddfod may be found here.
21 July 2019