Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

Fri 8- Sat 23 April

Glance at any city landscape, and man’s desire to go about his important business in style becomes painfully apparent. To understand this fully, just squint down the grand Champs-Élysées, a dignified pavement designed to lead jubilant parades to the Arc de Triomphe. In the other of the two cities, the tale is still the same; The Mall delivers officials and delegates to Buckingham Palace, making clear they’re not traipsing a dingy cul-de-sac. If it’s God you’re looking for, Via della Conciliazione will take you to the Vatican from Castel Sant’ Angelo, leaving you  no chance of getting lost. Indeed, our cities are marked by an unquenchable desire to walk down roads of pomp and prestige. These are the avenues that deliver us to our Kings and Gods, weighty routes that can only be taken with an air of purpose and direction.

On the other hand, you have the paths made for and by us. Like sheep on the mountains, mere ordinary people roam the world deprived of the assistance of boulevards. However, even without the means to plant dozens of chestnut trees or litter our paths with flagship stores by Yves Saint Laurent, we still manage to form beaten-down routes in the grass. These trodden routes, or desire lines, speak volumes about our journeys through life.

Produced by Sherman Cymru, Ian Rowlands’ latest production, Desire Lines takes this concept of how we carve our own courses and make our impact on the world without a predetermined degree of entitlement. In this story of one man’s journey across Wales, Rowlands enables us to explore the natural routes we choose to take, away from the direction and suggestion of others.

Adapting the seven ages of man from Jacques’ oft-quotes monologue in As You Like It, Rowlands simultaneously compresses this grand claim into a story specifically rooted in Wales, and extends it to fill a rich play that maps out the identity of one living in this country. Thoughtful and compelling, Desire Lines is set to take us on a powerful journey off the beaten track, simultaneously highlighting the lines which show us how far we’ve travelled.

first published in Buzz

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