Flashback Friday #3 – Ddu a Gwyn

Today’s Flashback Friday goes all the way back to 2004. Here is an excerpt of a play that I wrote while in university.

Set in the Welsh Valleys amidst unemployment,  boredom and despair; Ddu a Gwyn is a tragic love story based on the local folk tale ‘The Maid of Cefn Ydfa’ with themes of Welsh Identity and prejudice.

Ddu a Gwyn/ Black and White

Act 1, Scene 1

DAD: Once upon a time there was a marvellous creature living amongst these hills,the fields were white and green…… beautiful hills they were, like the most beautiful girl you did ever see, on the most beautiful day you could ever imagine… The creature was fire, the creature was bright, it was life, never before had there been such life, a dragon some called it, biggest wings you could imagine, spreading the length of the valley when they stretched out, its tail sparkled as it flew, magnificent it was, and when it flew past everyone would stop what they were doing and stand in awe at this wonder of creation, even though they’d seen it maybe a thousand times, it never cease to astound even the least impressionable of people. Never had anyone or anything been as loved by man as that creature was………. Then one day there came a man, they called him a hero, he rode a white horse, a most loved man by all who knew him, he was a stranger in these parts, although his reputation soon followed, a great man some said, wronged rights they did say, he was most welcomed in the valley, upon his arrival there was a big feast on his behalf, the likes of which no one had seen before, that night there was singing and dancing all in his name, he was a most honoured guest, no one asked what a great man such as him was doing in this area, the people were just glad to have him there.

The next morning the stranger rose early and began digging the deepest hole that any man had ever seen, it was the depth of a hundred oceans, the people of the valley looked on in confusion. “Why was he doing this?” they all asked each other. For three hours the strange hero from far away toiled in the sun until eventually he emerged, as he emerged a great shadow was cast over the whole valley, the people turned to see the beautiful red dragon flying over, tail and wings sparkling in the sun like a million jewels. While the crowd had their back turned the stranger drew an arrow from his sheath and shot down the dragon, the dragon fell to the ground and rolled about in pain, the stranger ran to it drawing his sword as he ran, the people watching all tried to stop him, but he was strong. He plunged his sword deep into the heart of the dragon until it lay still, but not dead, the man was strong and no man could stop him, he pushed the dragon And they sang laments for it as he pushed it into the bottomless pit. The pit stayed there as a sign of the empirical rule that that man inflicted on us that day. The dragon is still there, at the heart of this land, and, one day will be released when there the stranger leaves here. Then my son, the Dragon shall have its day once more The Dragon will have it’s day!

A field, night time GWYN, TOM AND DAI enter holding petrol containers and torches.

GWYN : Begolior gwennyth gwyn

DAI: You what?

GWYN: White wheat (both friends look blank) gwennyth gwyn , the white wheat, that’s what they used to call it.

DAI: Who did?

GWYN: The people who lived here a few hundred years ago

TOM: Couldn’t they speak bloody English?

GWYN: I don’t know, probably not

TOM: Retards

DAI: Why did they call it that then Gwyl? It doesn’t look that white to me?

TOM: It won’t be white for much fucking longer I can tell you!

GWYN: Brings a new perspective to “how green was my valley” doesn’t it! (Starts tipping petrol on the ground)

DAI: My Nan likes that film… its fucking crap- all in black and white

TOM: Never heard of it- sounds shite to me

GWYN:Oh balls to it- I just had a great idea, too bloody late now though

DAI: What?

GWYN: Well, it would have looked far more impressive if we’d written something in the fire- like “go home” or something, too late now though.

DAI: go home?

TOM: Sounds pointless to me

GWYN: Sounds pointless to me not to let them know why we are doing it

TOM: Pointless having a point. Matches?

DAI: Matches (hands over box of matches)

GWYN: No soul!

TOM: (Lighting match) No point!!

GWYN: Oi, what’s the rush? (blowing out match)

TOM: Ponce (lights another match)

GWYN: Don’t you want to feel that buzz that bit longer?

DAI: I’m cold- light the fire

TOM: What buzz?

GWYN: Pointless and un-cathartic

TOM: What did he just say?

DAI: Cathartic, it’s some illness or something, something to do with your piss, my Nan’s got it.


GWYN: No, it’s like a release

DAI: Yeah that’s right, My Nan gets good release when she pisses

TOM: Do you wanna burn this field then or are we gonna talk about your Nan all night?

GWYN: Well if there’s no point, we may as well talk about his Nan

TOM:It was your fucking idea in the first place

DAI: He’s got a point

GWYN: No he hasn’t, that’s the problem here

TOM: Alright then Gwyn, what’s your point then?

GWYN: you know my point.

DAI: (mocking) “For killing our language and our culture, and for giving us Margret Fucking Thatcher”

GWYN: OK just give me the matches

TOM: you what?

GWYN: Give me the matches.

TOM passes GWYN the matches.

DAI: about fucking time!

GWYN lights a match as he does this ANN enters, GWYN notices her from a distance, their eyes meet, the match burns out in his hand, he is oblivious to this.

DAI: Gwyn!

TOM: For fucks sake!

Snatches box of matches and lights one

Run Gwyn!


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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