As part of 14-18 NOW, the Nicholas John Trust commissioned the Welsh National Opera to create an opera inspired by David Jones’ epic poem In Parenthesis. This moving performance, composed by Iain Bell, commemorates the 923 Royal Welsh Fusiliers who fell in Mametz Wood, Somme.
Play Nicely created an interactive installation for the foyer of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff that is a poignant, reverential and thoughtful digital memorial to these 923 soldiers and highlights that they were not merely a number but real, individual people.
As theatregoers enter the Millennium Centre they see a set of red boot prints before a screen showing a muddy battlefield and a sun dappled wood. When they stand on these boot prints the In Parenthesis score starts and the scene tilts toward the sky to reveal the name, rank and date of death of one soldier. It is only by stepping away and stepping back that the viewer can learn about a different soldier.
It’s easy for the past to seem surreal and distant from today but the combination of In Parenthesis bringing the events of the battle to life, the illuminated poppy field by Squidsoup giving a sense of scale, and this Field installation giving names to the fallen, combine to bring the events of 100 years ago into the present day.