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Another Success in Aberdare.

Aberdare Bankruptcy Court

Merthyr Board of Guardians.


Aberdare I.L.P.

"---Aberdare Teachers' Ramble…

Rhys Lewis.-A Criticism. I


Rhys Lewis.-A Criticism. BY JOHN AELOD JONES. Uncle Tom's Cabin is a most thril- ling and fascinating novel without a love episode in it. But Rhys Lewis," by Daniel Owen has less of the master passion in it than even Mrs. Stowe's world-renowned work. Still, it has the true pathos and sublime of human life." It boasts of more than, one hero, but no pretty, charming heroine. And yet this loveless drama kept an immense crowd spell-bound for three hours and a quar- ter in the Aberdare Theatre on two nights last week. The drama is success- ful. True, and so was the book. Why? Because both give us a real "true to nature" picture of the Welsh character and the Welsh life. For even in fiction and stagecraft there is nothing so charming as simplicity and fidelity to nature. The producers of this excellent play are, to be congratulated on its entirely Welsh char- acter. It is Cymric in the merest detail. The costumes are Welsh, and even the scenery has been painted by a Welshman Mr. D. H. Thomas, of Aberdare. More- over, the dramatist and all the actors are residents of Aberdare. Mr. Ogwen Wil- liams is to be congratulated on his happy arrangement of the drama. The selec- tion of the principal actors lias been a most fortunate one. The heavy parts are allotted to Ogwen and Clydach as Tomos Bartley" and "Wil Bryan respectively, and their representations were perfect. Mari Lewis is a typical old Welsh woman, and her part is very well sustained by Miss S. A. Edwards. Then there is Mari's son Bob, the intelli- gent self-taught collier, the fearless champion of his fellow-workers' rights, the studious young man who was puzzled by theological dogmas and troubled by economic problems, the victim of the tyranny of chapel authorities and mine magnates. Bob's part is well played by Mr. Afanydd Morgan. Perhaps it would have been better if his attitude towards his mother showed less defiance and more deference. We regret to see Mari Lewis and Bob dropping out at the close of the first act. But that is not the fault of the dra- matist, but of the author. However, Daniel Owen did not attempt to engineer a good plot in his story. No one could better represent the Rev. Mr. Brown, the sporting parson with his pigeon" Welsh than Mr. Aubrey Roberts, B.A. Ab Hevin as Rhys Lewis is very good sometimes, but occasionally is rather mechanical. Probably he makes an at- tempt to follow his copy too slavish- ly. This cannot be said of either Clydach or Ogwen. The part of Barbara Bartley, whose chief function is to nod assent to Tomos's voluble but sensible speeches is per- formed in a splendid manner by Mrs. Lloyd. One doubts, however, whether Daniel Owen has been true to nature here for in real life it is generally Bar- bara that does all the talking and Tomos the nodding. In H Y Gwyddel" Mr. W. Jenkins (Meirionydd) is most natural in atti- tude, clear in articulation, and effective in general expression. It is a pity that he has not more to do in the play. Ogwen has shown a great tact in giving such prominence to the orations of Wil Bryan and Thomas Bartley. The serio- comic effusions and the soulful con- fessions of Wil are as sublime as they are entertaining, while the sound com- mon sensical epigrams and homely homi- lies of Tomos. are unique. It is a pity that Wil Bryan's discourses on "Natur Eglwys" and Cheek" could not be worked in somewhere, but that would' make the play immoderately long. Rhys Lewis' tribute to his dead mother in his prose elegy—one of the finest pieces in the language—is also perforce omitted. Act III. is given entirely to Tomos Bartley's visit to Bala. Perhaps the incidents connected with that event might have been curtailed a little. In the last Act one is exceedingly pleased to renew the acquaintance of Wil Bryan. I feel thankful to the dramatist for inserting Wil's autobiography en toto. It is a strange sermon not sur- passed in effect by the most fervid pulpit discourse. It cannot help having a good moral effect on playgoers who are not Church-goers. Sergt. Williams also re- appears in the last act. In words and actions Mr. D. Richards' representation of the officer is true to nature." Mr. Abraham Watkins, G. and L. does full justice to the. part of the college pro- f essor, although his voice is somewhat weak. The minor parts in the play, such as Williams the Student, Marged Pitars, and John Powell are well performed by Mr. J. Williams Miss E. Edwards, and Mr. Timothy Davies, B.A., respectively. The audience on either night was al- most as interesting a study as the stage. Venerable grandmothers) who had never seen a play before came to witness the enactment of Rhys Lewis. Puritanical faces upon which the lines of anti-stage prejudice were writ large might have been seen in the New Theatre on those nights. Rhys Lewis as a book removed the Welsh pulpit's bias against fiction. Our thanks to Daniel Owen for that. Rhys Lewis as a drama will doubtless re- move the same pulpit's prejudice against the stage. Our thanks to Ogwen for that. a CymdeIthas Rhys Lewis Aber- dar deserves success. It is "true to nature." A distinctive feature of Rhys Lewis is its colloquialisms. But all the actors had mastered the Flintian dialect thor- oughly. One parting advice. It would be well to work up the climax in some of the scenes to a higher pitch so as to make the lowering of the curtain more effec- tive. I