Saturday, February 6, 2021

THESE CLOUDED HILLS/Y BRYNIAU CYMYLOG HYN (Place Prints/New Perspectives)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82 (available in English and Welsh)

Available until: Unknown

This Place Print is about a sixteen year old girl called Mary Jones. For years, she has dreamed of owning her own Welsh Bible. A kind lady called Mrs Evans has allowed Mary to read her Bible and learn the stories but Mary really wants one all of her own.

She hoped at first that it might not cost very much money but a visiting reverend told her that it would be very expensive and that she would have to travel a long way. 25 miles, all the way to the Bala.

It has taken Mary a long time but at last, she has enough money and she is ready to begin her journey. She leaves early. She has no transport of her own and she has to walk all the way. As she walks, she enjoys looking at the countryside around her and listening to the sounds. A lot of the things she sees remind her of the stories and places she has read about in Mrs Evans’ Bible. She tells us some of the stories as she walks.

Writer David Rudkin has described Mary’s journey really well. He knows it well because he walked it all himself so he saw all the places she would have seen. It is difficult sometimes to tell a very religious story because not everyone has the same religion and some have none at all. Some people want to share their religion with other people and try to help them to believe the same things but a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with this.

But this story does not feel like anyone is trying to make us believe anything, except that a girl called Mary really is walking 25 miles to buy a Bible. Director Jack McNamara has made the story a very positive one and happy one. It does not sound preachy at all. It is about a girl who is talking about something she really loves and is doing something exciting which is really important to her. The fact it is a Bible is very important to Mary but I think as listeners we just hear she is an excited girl who is making one of her dreams come true and I think everyone can relate to being excited and having dreams. The stories she tells will be important to some people in a religious way but they are also lovely stories.

I love Adam McCready’s sound design too. You can hear Mary’s footsteps and the birds singing and I like how the sounds change as it suggests different times of day and it helps give the sense that time is passing.

Hedydd Dylan is the actor in the English and Welsh version of the story. She was in Emmerdale for a while and she was in the Globe’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor so she is a very versatile performer. She tells Mary’s story really well. The Welsh version is especially beautiful to listen to because the Welsh accent suits excitement really well and the natural changes in the pitch of the Welsh make Ms Dylan sound even younger than when she speaks English. She is a grown-up but it is easy to imagine she is only a little bit older than my sister Louise. The music of the language sounds really lovely with the music of the birds singing.

This is a really lovely Place Print. It is beautifully-written and performed and it is exciting because you really want Mary to get to the Bala safely and get her Bible because she is such a nice person. Some of the Place Prints are quite scary but this one isn’t really scary at all.

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