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Refrain

An adaptation of Sean Edwards' play Refrain, a poetic exploration of place, class and politics, performed by his mother Lily Edwards.

An adaptation of Sean Edwards' play Refrain, a poetic exploration of place, class and politics, performed by his mother Lily Edwards.

The artist Sean Edwards is currently representing Wales at the Venice Biennale. Central that exhibition is a radio play performed every day by the artist's mother Lily in her living room in Cardiff and transmitted to the various rooms of the gallery in Venice.

The play weaves Lily Edwards’ biography of growing up in a Northern Irish Catholic children’s home and her subsequent life in Wales, intertwined with the artist’s own personal memories from his childhood.

It's a fragmentary narrative, rich with implied and imagined sound. But in its daily performance it consists only of words -- and space and silence -- as the artist's mother combines the fragments of experience and memory into an evocative, elegiac piece.

This programme, like the play itself, is abstract and fragmentary. Retaining that sense of elegy and the slipperiness of memory and the flow of time, it returns the bare words of Sean's mother to their soundworld -- to the estate, to the betting shop frequented by Sean's father, to the refrain of bells. And it brings together the two places of the play, bridging the distance between the council flat and the grandeur of Venice, that upmarket tourist town.

Photo: Refrain (production image) c/o Sean Edwards and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Release date:

28 minutes

On radio

Tue 17 Dec 2019 16:00

Broadcast

Gallery