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from http://www.celfcymru.org.uk

2008 Creative Wales Award Winner's new play gets rave reviews
March 11, 2008

One of the 2008 Creative Wales Award Winners, Kaite O'Reilly's new play, which can currently be seen at Sherman Cymru, 'The Almond and the Seahorse' has already received rave reviews from the National press.

'The Almond and the Seahorse' is a moving and witty play about survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the impact on their everyday life and relationships. Two couples find themselves in the situation where memory loss disturbs the balance of their relationships, and the status between partners when one becomes patient and the other carer.

Gwennan is involved in a car crash and no longer recognises Tom, her husband, or even herself in the mirror. After having a brain tumour removed, Joe's memory is slowly deleting and his partner Sarah yearns for the man she once knew.

Kaite, a well respected and accomplished playwright and writer on disabled issues, researched the subject of traumatic brain injury extensively whilst writing the play:

"With The Almond and the Seahorse, I'm trying to allow the audience to see from the perspective of the individual whose reality has changed (because of surviving Traumatic Brain injury), as well as that of the partner, whose reality hasn't changed. The play represents both perspectives - the disabled and non-disabled - simply showing peoples' lives, regardless of any medical label. People are people. I want to explore ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances"

The Guardian's review commented:

"These extraordinary scenarios are tenderly drawn and powerfully realised in Phillip Zarrilli's beautifully judged production. Fiona Watt's set shows past, present and future colliding - as it does for the couples - and the performances are uniformly affecting. The couples' lives alter irrevocably as we watch, and this is not a play with any sunny, easy resolution.

"That is what makes our lives: memory," says Sarah. This unmissable drama - which promises much for the future of new writing company Sherman Cymru - confronts the uncomfortable reality of what happens to life, and even the most patient love, without it".

Kaite has another reason to celebrate as she is one of the Arts Council of Wales's major Creative Wales Award winners for Drama. In her Creative Wales project, Kaite aims to create an oral history record of diverse disabled individuals in Wales and to write a selection of monologues, informed by her learning and her practice as a dramatic writer. This Award will enable Kaite, who identifies as a disability artist, to establish a new theatrical source, specifically created for disabled performers.

Kaite is currently completing her first novel on a bursary from Academi. Further information can be found at www.kaiteoreilly.com

'The Almond and the Seahorse' can be seen at Sherman Cymru, Cardiff until 15 March 2008. For more information, please click on: www.shermancymru.co.uk/

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