Burton Taylor is showing the new play Graceland, the work of Aled
Roberts, as part of the 2005 prestigious New Writing Festival, which
showcases the four most impressive student offerings from this annual
an important event in the Oxford drama calendar, and includes a
series of post-show discussions, in an effort to get people talking
provides a compelling snapshot of the lives of several workers in
a South Wales factory, using the vehicle of their short buzzer-breaks
to focus in on their chat and banter. Although only half an hour
long, the audience's interest is piqued from the first and by the
end they have achieved a surprising familiarity with the characters.
have ostensibly dull lives - working, looking after children, making
dinner, all with little money. But their conversation is marvellously
entertaining, generating laugh after laugh.
writer Aled Roberts says: 'The setting of the factory canteen on
a night shift is the chosen vehicle to attempt to show some the
intrinsic attachment of humour to monotony and stagnancy, and how
a genuinely brilliant but very static joy is born out of that.'
point of the play is perhaps to show the immense variety of the
human sense of humour, and strength of the human spirit both of
which shine through in even the most monotonous conditions.
Nanw Rowlands says: 'Ultimately, Graceland is a comedy but it is
also a reality and in a sympathetic representation of these low-income
workers, the audience is drawn to laugh with them and the amusement
they are able to find in their own situation.' Funny, compelling
and new - I look forward to seeing what Aled Roberts' future offerings
views expressed in these comments are those of the contributor's
and not the BBC.