Siwan (play)
Siwan is the title of a play written in the Welsh language
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 by Saunders Lewis
Saunders Lewis
Saunders Lewis was a Welsh poet, dramatist, historian, literary critic, and political activist. He was a prominent Welsh nationalist and a founder of the Welsh National Party...

, first produced in 1956. The first English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 translation of the play (sometimes known by the alternative title The King of England’s Daughter) appeared in 1960.

The play is based on historical events and centres on Joan, Lady of Wales
Joan, Lady of Wales
Joan, Princess of Wales and Lady of Snowdon was the wife of Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales and Gwynedd and effective ruler of most of Wales.-Early life:...

, the illegitimate daughter of King John of England
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

 and her marriage to Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (also known as Llywelyn Fawr or Llywelyn the Great
Llywelyn the Great
Llywelyn the Great , full name Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, was a Prince of Gwynedd in north Wales and eventually de facto ruler over most of Wales...

). It is set at the royal home at Abergwyngregyn
Abergwyngregyn is a village of historical note in Gwynedd, a county and principal area in Wales. Under its historic name of Aber Garth Celyn it was the seat of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd....

, on the north coast of Gwynedd
Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

 at Easter in 1230. In the play William de Braose, a young Marcher Lord, is discovered with Siwan in Llywelyn's bedchamber. De Braose is hanged for adultery.

In Saunders Lewis' earlier work including the play Blodeuwedd (1948), he had been increasingly using the themes and characters of Welsh myths and historical events as the inspiration for his work. He continued the use of medieval romantic themes in Siwan which also deals with adultery, but in contrast to Blodeuwedd also involves the themes of reconciliation, forgiveness, and marital harmony.

Siwan together with Blodeuwedd are considered as the "canonical examples of Welsh language drama" and are regularly performed in Welsh theatres and on Welsh language radio and television.

Further reading

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