In Parenthesis


Private John Ball and his fellow Royal Welch Fusiliers embark for France in December 1915. Six months later, the majority of this band of comrades are killed or wounded at the Battle of the Somme. A new production of this unique prose-poem marks Remembrance Sunday and the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.

Equally graphic, thanks mainly to the music, was the dramatisation of the Battle of the Somme in David Jones’s extraordinary prose poem, In Parenthesis. a play with three narrators signifying Action, Thought and Memory does sound a bit tricky. I needn’t have worried. Douglas Cleverdon’s adaptation and John Hardy’s music made this elegiac piece reminiscent of the last book of Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy, and one of the most moving plays I have heard.
— Sue Arnold, The Observer

Adapted by Douglas Cleverdon from the memoir by David Jones, described by WH Auden as "the greatest prose-poem in the English language."

Cast features Sian Phillips (Action), Sara McGaughey (Thought), Manon Edwards (Memory), Dorien Thomas (Prologue), Steven Meo (John Ball), Oliver Ryan (Dai Evans), Thomas Arnold (Crower), Rhodri Hugh (Jenkins), Iestyn Jones (Lewis), Simon Ludders (Snell), David Middleton (Quilter), Matthew Morgan (Wastebottom), Carl Prekopp (Clark), Aled Pugh (Watcyn), Keiron Self (Wyatt), Nathan Sussex (Saunders). Directed by Alison Hindel, original music by John Hardy.

In Parenthesis is a 'Drama on 3' production for BBC Radio 3, first broadcast on Sunday 14th November 2004, repeated in 2006.

Combining the voices of young men in the trenches with three poetic female narrators hovering above it in the ether, the piece embellishes the unfolding horror of battle with references to ancient Welsh mythology and Catholic symbolism.
— Elizabeth Mahoney, The Guardian