Under Milk Wood poster

original artwork by Goni Ronen ’20

Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School’s Class of 2020 is pleased to present three readings of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. This play is described as “A Play for Voices,” one of only a few great theater pieces written purely for recitation, without staging in mind.

Simon Frishkoff, HVS High School Chairperson and science teacher said, “When the seniors and I realized we would not be able to have live, staged performances of the 12th grade play this year, we had to completely re-think their options. Under Milk Wood quickly rose to the top of the list of plays that we could imagine performing, and that resonated with this class.”

The class will offer three performances on Friday, June 5 at 7pm, and Saturday, June 6 at 2pm and 7pm. The production will be enhanced by illustrations created by the students. The link to the live stream will be available here.

Synopsis of the Play

The play takes place in Llareggub, a sort of “Every-town” seashore village that is both universal and specifically quirky, down to its last Welsh detail. The townspeople are not stock characters– they represent as diverse a range of personalities and archetypal human relationships as ever were assembled onstage. Over the course of one Spring day, we follow the inhabitants of Llareggub through their pre-dawn dreams, their breakfasts, and the course of their daily routines, all the way through dusk and their return to sleep in the evening. Along the way, we experience with them all the triumphs and tragedies, disappointments, and ecstatic celebrations of an outwardly uneventful, perfectly ordinary day.

Dylan Thomas pens his lyrical descriptions and dialogue with such loving care and artistry, that we see it all in our mind’s eye. The language is richly poetic, a feast for the ear, while staying true to the natural rhythms and cadences of speech. The humor of the play lies not only in the many overtly funny lines and conversations, but also in recognition of the hypocrisy, foibles, and absurdity so ingrained in our personalities. Thomas expertly sees them and skewers them all, not out of malice or cynicism, but with great compassion and, ultimately, gratitude for that which makes us human. As Polly Garter, the town’s perpetual loving mother, says to her bonny new baby, “Oh, isn’t life a terrible thing, thank God?”