Straeon Cymraeg Mewn Drag
Ffabinogion is a new anthology of Queer Welsh stories written by the LGBTQ+ community and brought to life through drag performance by queens from the House of Deviant (Wales’ only learning disabled drag troupe). All brought together under the watchful eye of our very own drag mamgu (played by drag artist Catrin Feelings). Including original live music from Frances Bolley.
Expect wild retellings of traditional Welsh tales with a queer twist mixed in with new modern tales, told through drag, puppetry and queer shenanigans.
In this sequel project to Gaesop’s Fables, we are looking to create a collection of Welsh Tales with a queer twist to adapt into our next live Queer performance: Ffabinogion, which will be seen across Wales this summer.
You can catch the performance at:
Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, Maes D, Thursday 10th August 2023 @ 6:30pm
Devising Process Week 1
This week we started our devising process for Ffabinogion. We spent time getting to know each other and sharing our thoughts about three main themes:
- What does Welsh feel like?
- What does the word Queer mean to us?
- Why are stories important?
It was clear that our ideas and thoughts centred on a sense of belonging, community and identity. Mixed in with this - nature, ancientness and the wild approached with the spirit of exploration - creating the world in which this project exists.
What does it mean to feel safe and secure in a world that's wild?
Safe but Unsafe
Belonging but Free
Wool and Sparkle
Devising Process Week 2
This week we explored further the juxtaposition of safe/home vs the Wild.
We worked on some of the stories we received from members of the LGBTQ+ community and explored how they could work in the devising process, in particular looking with the focus of language and music.
You can hear (above) the audio from one of our group's musical interpretation's of one of our stories.
The joys of the devising process are the endless possibilities that can emerge. That from short stories any kind of magic can happen, and in multiple directions. The difficulty is sorting what fits and what doesn't.
At this stage we are still full of questions, and very few answers, and despite time restrictions and the performance deadline creeping upon us, that's ok. Trusting the process (advice very often given but difficult to hold on to).
Devising Process Week 3
Through Other's Eyes
We looked at some of the stories that we hadn't yet explored, and found ways of telling them from different perspectives. The story from the seagull's point of view as a witness to the plot might reveal more about the story.
We also explored how to queer up traditional welsh songs - how do you smash up Queer icons with Calon Lan? Can you do the single ladies dance routine to Sospan Fach?
This activity helped us to unlock our question - how do you queer up the traditional? Where is the beautiful clash between the fabulous and the wild?
Devising Process Week 4
As part of our process this week we decided to physically create the world we imagine our performance to be set.
Through this exercise we unlocked some of the answers to the questions we were still asking:
- Who are the characters?
- What world do they exist in?
- How do the stories fit into this world?
Keep an ear out for the soft chimes of an ice cream van...
Devising Process Week 5
Magic Toothpaste, Goats and Wind
As the world we created became more familiar to us, so too did the things we imagined that occupied that world.
We knew pretty early on there'd be goats.
We also knew there would be saucepans
But we didn't know there'd be toothpaste
And we didn't know toothpaste was magical!
We also were lucky enough to be joined by Kylie Ann Smith from Kitsch n Sync who came to cast a caring critical eye over the work.
After throwing the cast in the deep end and announcing their first ever attempt at a run through, we asked Kyle to help weave her magic with our Queered up saucepans and creating a movement profile for the wind.
Devising Process Week 5
Stories to tell
This week we continued working with our materials, working and weaving our way around the stories and how they are to be told.
We were also joined by Alun Saunders who came to support us with the Welsh Language in our performance.
The performance at the Eisteddfod is to be told solely in the Welsh language, which poses a question - how do non Welsh speaking drag queens with a learning disability, perform a show, in the Welsh language.
The answer lies in drag performer Catrin Feelings (Ellis Lloyd Jones) - our magical and fabulous Welsh language storyteller. They weave magic and a clever cuing system to ensure that not only the stories are heard and understood, but also, that our queens siarad Cymraeg!
And with expert mentoring from Alun, we have been able to find a way of working that everyone can access.
Ooh ooh ooh, and also BBC came and filmed us and did interviews and things in both English and Welsh, and that was pretty cool!