35 TIMES Blog Week 3

By Natalie Paisey – @Natpaisey

Well firstly, how beautiful are the hills around Treorchy in the sweltering sun! The Park and Dare, nestled in their midst, has been a cool sanctuary for us over the last few days. 

We are a week away from opening and the show is safely on its feet. We have spent the last few days working on character, history and relationships as well as shaping the trajectory of the piece. Every day we find between us new moments of amusement and poignancy; today’s highlight: watching Olwen drag her chair and carry her shopping trolley across the space whilst dancing (so in keeping with her character, yet so unexpected). 

Bethan, always with a keen eye for detail, continues to layer voice, sound and physicality, challenging us to find meaning in each movement. 

There is an overall dance-like quality to the work – and not simply because there are moments of dance within it. 

It is satisfying to feel the script come fully to life and gain shape in the space and although we have a lot of finessing and honing ahead of us, we really are in a positive place.

The subject matter remains painfully topical.  Articles in the Guardian, the Metro and in online news this week, have discussed three tragic stories of domestic abuse that ended in the deaths of five women.  One man killed his wife and daughter and then himself with a shot gun after they fled from years of prolonged, cruel psychological and emotional abuse. The surviving sons (and brothers) slam the media for wide-spread victim-blaming language. Another man will now serve life for smashing his ex’s skull into pieces, again “payback” for leaving him.  The third man “killed two ex-girlfriends five years apart”.  What is appalling, on top of the already abhorrent murders of these women, is how easy it was for these men to inflict many years of torment upon their partners with no recourse to law.

It is a sobering thought and one that makes us determined as a company to do all we can to empower sufferers of domestic abuse to seek support and solace and to find the strength to speak out and for everyone to be mindful of its frequency. 

No one should turn a blind eye to a black eye.

For information on the tour and tickets please click here

35 TIMES Blog Week 3

By Jason Marc-Williams @JasonMarc24

I am so pleased to be back in the room working with Bethan Morgan and Mercury Theatre Wales. I first worked for the company in 2013 where I played the role of Sean in Spangled, it was such a fun project where I made lots of excellent friends.

Back last year when Bethan asked me to be part of the research and development of 35 TIMES, I jumped at the chance. It is a topic that I am very passionate about and feel we need talk about it more in order to stop domestic abuse being a taboo topic.

During the R&D, I was employed as an actor. As the process went on it became clear that the play was going to be all female, but Bethan was keen to still have my voice involved in the project. When she asked me to be the assistant director I was so excited, as well as acting I have been doing a lot of directing and choreographing for colleges and universities across the UK and I am keen to further my career as a Professional Creative.

Being in the room during week one of rehearsal was fantastic the cast and crew are such a diverse group of talented women, who I enjoyed working with every second. Considering it is such an emotional topic, we laughed a lot, I think laughter and joy is key to any process, I am so excited for people to see the work we have created.

I have now left the rehearsal room for 2 weeks as I am currently on tour with an other play, but I cannot wait to get back on the rehearsal room on the 26th of June to add some finishing touches before we open on the 29th at the Park & Dare Theatre.

I am constantly being updated by Bethan and the ladies.

Its going to be such a brilliant project which nobody should miss. Book your tickets now.

Over and out

Jason Marc-Williams

For information on the tour and tickets please click here

35 TIMES Blog Week 2 

By Natalie Paisey – @Natpaisey

The statistics speak for themselves, even if the women don’t: police in the UK receive a domestic violence call once every thirty seconds.  Someone has picked up the phone and has dialed in an assault in the time it’s taken me to type this.

It’s been an interesting eight days, bitter-sweet in fact.  We’ve watched interviews given by survivors brave enough to share their stories for the good of others, heard umpteen versions of the same old tired tale of systematic abuse behind net curtains.  We’ve all shuddered and shed tears, wondered how survivors manage to pick themselves up with such dignity and painstakingly attempt to move on, how some can recount such horrific moments with irony and humour.

I can’t say it’s been an unchallenging process.  Yet through it I have met the most wonderful women: a multi-generational cast willing to push into the darkest of experiences and support each other on the journey. And dare I say it, we have laughed! As one survivor so clearly put it today: “you have to laugh otherwise you’ll cry”.

In eight days we have danced on chairs, imagined and real; we have attempted to dissolve like sugar cubes in water (not as easy as it sounds) and we’ve tried to do service to the women who have entrusted us with the material that cumulatively has given life to Bethan’s play.

Oh, and did I mention the puppy?

For information on the tour and tickets please click here


35 TIMES Blog Week 1

By Rasheeda Ali – @RasheedaAliUK

It’s week one of rehearsals for 35 Times with Mercury Theatre Wales and what a week it’s been!

We’ve got a fantastic all female cast and you’ll probably have spotted us on the telly! Our wonderful actresses have starred in Stella, Gavin and Stacey, Gwaith/Cartref, Pobol y Cwm and Hinterland. You’ll get to know our actresses a little more over the next couple of posts.

The first day of rehearsals is always a thrill. We started our week with a meet and greet over a nice cuppa Welsh Brew no less!

Once we had got to know each other a little bit we dived straight into the script. In our first read through together we started to see our characters come to life. How exciting! This is where it has started but where will it go? What will we discover? And where will our show take us?

So follow our journey on Twitter and stay tuned to see all of Mercury Theatre’s behind the scenes action. 

Our first week’s got us feeling Hapus iawn! Very happy!

Until next time, from all of us Mercury Theatre Wales, Hwyl Fawr!

For information on the tour and tickets please click here