A heart-warming new family play about dementia seen through the eyes of a young grandson is set for a nationwide tour of Wales this spring.
Ŵy, Chips a Nain (Egg Chips and Grandma) is an honest portrayal of love, friendship and fun between two generations when facing life with dementia.
The Welsh language play is a co-production between the Menai Bridge-based theatre company, Frȃn Wen, with Galeri Caernarfon where it will be premiered next February.
“There is something magical about the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren and we wanted a show that could celebrate this,” said Iola Ynyr, Frân Wen’s Artistic Director.
“Grandparents have always played an important role in bringing up children, but these days, more of us than ever rely on them to help with our kids.”
The Welsh language production was written by poet and musician Gwyneth Glyn, who was inspired by the Bryn Seiont Newydd dementia care home in Caernarfon.
Appropriately, the ensuing tour is being sponsored by the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation who own Bryn Seiont Newydd.
The play tells the story of young Guto who loves spending time with his Nain and it involves a boat trip to Ireland, picnics by the sea, semaphore flags and fairies turning children into sausages.
According to Gwyneth Glyn, the play is an honest portrayal of love, friendship and fun between two generations when facing life with dementia.
She said: “Telling the story through the eyes of a young boy means it isn’t a dark story and because it’s important to offer the audience some light, hope and humour.
“It’s really a crystallisation of the relationship a boy has with his grandmother and how that changes as her dementia takes hold. Guto goes to his Nain’s for tea after school and always enjoys egg and chips.
“It’s through this every day event of cooking egg and chips that we see the condition develop and how he sees the adult looking after him deteriorating due to her dementia. I don’t want to spoil the play but the ending is, I hope, poignant but full of hope.
“I really wanted to get the message across that dementia doesn’t mean the end of a relationship but instead, in many ways, it enriches lives.
“I wanted to see for myself how dementia affected people so I worked with Bryn Seiont Newydd’s musician-in-residence, Nia Davies Williams.
“It was a really enlightening experience and increased my depth of understanding of the condition and also gave me a great deal of hope as I saw how lives are enriched through music and art.”
Bryn Seiont Newydd’s musician-in-residence, Nia Davies Williams, said: “It’s a fantastic and interesting project. I really like the inter-generational aspect which allows children to get an understanding of dementia.
“Gwyneth’s script is wonderful, very sensitive and tells the story of dementia through the eyes of a child. I see dementia everyday and no two people are the same but Gwyneth has really captured the affect dementia has on people.”
Galeri Caernarfon’s new artistic director, Nici Beech said: “It really is a beautiful script, very moving. There is lots of laughter but it’s also so poignant and we’ve also have an excellent two person cast in Iwan Garmon and Gwenno Hodgkins.
“Rehearsals will begin in December ahead of its national tour which starts on the 2nd of February. ”
Ŵy, Chips a Nain
2 February – 22 March 2018
Galeri Caernarfon – 10.15am & 1.30pm
Galeri Caernarfon – 11am
Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan – 10am & 1pm
Theatr Felinfach, Ceredigion – 10.15am & 1.30pm
Theatr Clwyd, Mold – 10.15am & 1.15pm
Theatr Clwyd, Mold – 10.15am & 4.30pm
Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli – 10am & 1.15pm
Canolfan Gartholwg, Pontypridd – 10.15am & 1.30pm
Ffwrnes, Llanelli – 10.15am & 1.30pm
Canolfan Celfyddau Aberystwyth – 1pm & 6pm
Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech – 1.30pm & 6pm
Theatr Pafiliwn, Rhyl – 10.15am & 1.30pm
Pontio Bangor – 1.30pm & 6.30pm
Chapter, Cardiff – 1.30pm & 6pm
Chapter, Cardiff – 1.30pm & 6pm
Chapter, Cardiff – 10.15am & 1.30pm