Multi-layered and full of lyrical language, Writer and Co-Creator Naomi Chiffi tells us more about the script for Go Tell the Bees and how it has been inspired by the people and places of Pembrokeshire:
The script is drawn from the many conversations I have had with people across the county over this four-year journey. Their words are thread solidly into the piece and it’s their voices which really tell this story.
“I’m interested in the lyrical way in which people in Pembrokeshire speak, as well as their innate gift for storytelling.”
Coming from Pembrokeshire, I’m aware that dividing the county is the Landsker line, with fewer Welsh-language speakers south of this invisible divide. It was very important to me that the Welsh language be peppered throughout the script, with it appearing more heavily in areas geographically associated with first-language Welsh speakers.
During our conversations I also became aware of the spirituality of the people of Pembrokeshire. I don’t mean this is a religious sense necessarily, though obviously that plays a large part in the lives of many, but more in the sense of a connection to nature and an appreciation of their own part in the natural world. Many conversations led me to considerations of animism (the belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a spiritual essence), and this is something that is explored throughout the script.
Probably the biggest inspiration for the script, however, came from the interviews I conducted as part of the Sea Empress documentary directed by Gavin Porter (Sea Empress 25) – their words are thread directly into the script in a verbatim style.
“Having a child as the main protagonist, through whose eyes we experience the world, was important to us.”
It seemed appropriate that a child, with their sense of wonder and ability to stop and appreciate the beauty of a flower, the complexity of a shell or the busy workings of an ant, should be the character that would ultimately “save the day” and remind us of the importance of our connection to our environment, and to each other.
John Lawrence’s music also draws inspiration from the sounds of nature and is inspired by the buzzing of bees, the songs of the plants, the resonance of stones, the sounds of the stars and birdsong. This works beautifully alongside Di Ford’s designs, Gemma Green-Hope’s animation, sculptures by Jon Foreman and Ivan Black, as well as additional tracks by Jess Ward, Molara Awen, David Pepper and Jenny Guard.
“Seeing it performed on screen for the first time was nerve-wracking, and an entirely different experience to seeing your work performed live on stage.”
Our first screenings at Manorbier (presented to small, socially distanced audiences while Covid restrictions were still in place) helped us to gauge audience reactions. Since then, filmmaker Joe Sullivan and I have had the chance to get back into the editing room and continue to shape the film for sharing with larger audiences this September.
“I hope audiences will get to know the beauty of Pembrokeshire and gain an understanding of the diverse, talented and creative communities it has to offer.”
I’m really grateful to every single person we have worked with so far. They have all helped to make the film you see today. This is not the end of our time in Pembrokeshire and I’m excited to see what happens next.
Photo by Rachel John