Dylan Thomas Script of South Pacific Mystery Gets First Ever Production
Publish Date : Saturday 1 February 2014 - 17:08
It is not a typical Dylan Thomas subject – murder, mystery and intrigue in the South Pacific – and the script he wrote, despite being bought by the actor Richard Burton, never developed into the film he was hoping for.
According to The Guardian, now at least it will be performed on the airwaves. Radio 3 has said it will broadcast the world premiere of the all but forgotten work 'The Beach of Falesa.'
The drama will be broadcast in May to mark the centenary of Thomas's birth and will be the first production of the little-known piece.
Matthew Dodd, head of Radio 3 speech programs, called the production a "fantastic thing" for the station and said it continued a relationship with Thomas that went back 50 years – it was the Third Program, Radio 3's predecessor, that first broadcast Under Milk Wood. 'The Beach of Falesa' is "a very dark story, very tense", Dodd said. "I can't imagine why film producers didn't take it up."
The screenplay is based on a late 19th century short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Whether it was a film producer's idea or Thomas's is not known, but the writer undoubtedly harboured big hopes of its reaching the big screen, said Alison Hindell, the BBC's head of audio drama. It went through the hands of two now defunct film companies, and after Thomas's death, in 1953, the rights were bought by Burton.
"I'm fairly sure he was imagining himself in the central role," said Hindell. "It is a very Burtonesque role."
For whatever reason the actor could not get the project going, even after enlisting Christopher Isherwood to work on it in the late 1960s. The script was published posthumously in 1963 and it came to Hindell's attention by a bizarre and serendipitous coincidence.