The Wizard, The Goat and The Man Who Won the War, written and directed by David Britton, Senior Lecturer in Dramatic Writing at Swansea University, and starring BAFTA-winning actor Richard Elfyn, explores the mind and moods of the master politician and discovers mystery, poetry and a great deal of humour.
The Wizard, The Goat and The Man Who Won the War is the result of a lengthy collaboration between writer and actor. An early version was given a reading in Lloyd George’s home village of Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd, and last year the play had its first full try-out, to great acclaim, at the Dylan Thomas Festival in Swansea.
The tour has been supported by funding from the Arts Council of Wales with production help from Swansea’s Taliesin Arts Centre.
The title of the play stems from the three nicknames given by the Press to a leader who took coalition government and political scandal in his stride and still found time for a colourful personal life. He was a giant of 20th Century global politics, yet his life possesses many unanswered questions: How could this impoverished Welsh-speaking chapel boy become the steely Prime Minister who saw Britain through the First World War? How could the champion of non-conformist Christianity become the womaniser who lived a double life with his long-term mistress? How could this protector of the poor risk so much to advance his own personal wealth?
The setting for Britton’s fictional drama is Antibes in the south of France at the time of Lloyd George’s 50th wedding anniversary. From there, his imagination travels the length of his life history, and relishes the thought of further personal and political conquests.
Mr Britton said, “Lloyd George is a dramatist’s dream, a mass of contradictions: charismatic, intelligent, foolish, impulsive, clinically decisive and painfully human. I wrote this progressively, giving Richard a few pages at a time, and he grew to possess the role as much as it possessed him.
“It may be a one-man play, but don’t expect a monologue. Richard becomes all the people in Lloyd George’s world and somehow manages to sing and dance his way into the great man’s soul.
“It’s been a great privilege working with such a committed actor who seems to find reserves of energy from nowhere. Apparently Lloyd George could do that too. My favourite bit is where Richard as Lloyd George gets the War Cabinet to sing Myfanwy. It’s a glorious piece of performance.”
The Wizard, The Goat and the Man Who Won the War opens at the Taliesin Theatre, Swansea on November 10 at 7.30pm. For tickets contact Taliesin box office 01792 602060 and for more information visit taliesinartscentre.co.uk/performances.php?id=400
- Thursday 1 March 2012 00.00 GMT
- Friday 2 March 2012 14.50 GMT