I don't know if susurrus (pronounced sus-yoo-rus) is a made-up word but according to the playwright, David Leddy it means,'the wind rustling in the trees.' It is also the title of his latest production to be premiered at Margam Country Park from the 25th June to the 3rd of July.
He is our invited guest at Script cafe in Pontardawe Arts centre tomorrow, so I was keen to attend a preview yesterday in the Park. According to the information given out,
'It is part radio play, part recital, part lesson in bird dissection and part stroll in the park. . . the different elements creating a perfect melding of location and text to create a theatre experience in which there are no actors and only one member in the audience:you'
We were given headphones, a MP3 player and a map each, and set loose to follow the trail while listening to the 'play'. Margam Country Park was once a twelfth century Cistercian Abbey, the wealthiest and largest in Wales. It has been extended and added to and has the longest Orangery in Britain. It was a brilliantly sunny day, families were strolling around the lake and playing frisbee on the grass. A large party of Asian families were having a barbecue on one of the smaller open spaces, children swinging and climbing over ancient yew trees, and a couple of butch-looking women with huge lenses swung around their necks were taking photos of the ducks and close-ups of foliage patterns. A perfect back drop for a play about 'love and loss. . . a sensual interpretation of a Midsummer Night's Dream with a contemporary edge.'
I should have known when we were told by the guide that it had adult content that it wasn't going to be what I thought it might be. I wandered around the park imbibing the perfume and colour of the roses, pastoral scenes spread out in front of me like a delicious picnic, the steel works of Port Talbot in the far distance, and the sea sparkling on the horizon. I was enjoying the wonderful music and operatic recital pieces that accompanied me from bench to bench, when I suddenly realised that 'love and loss' in the audio drama included sexual abuse, a bereaved daughter, a suicidal father, a homosexual lover, and a post mortem on a dead sparrow. Not the love and loss I was expecting, but a very moving and sad story juxtaposed against a sunny Sunday afternoon.
I would certainly recommend the audio drama- it is a new intimate experience in theatre going, cleverly interweaving four viewpoints, layered with meaning. But if you can't stomach the story, you could just listen to the momentous musical bits in between the action as you stroll around the magical Margam Country Park.