DEUCE: A NEW BILINGUAL PODCAST DRAMA FROM THE BBC AUDIO AWARDS-SHORTLISTED CREATORS OF TREMOLO
Produced by Illumine Theatre in partnership with Genomics Partnership Wales and in conjunction with Wales Gene Park, DEUCE is a podcast drama written by Cardiff-based playwright Lisa Parry and directed by Zoë Waterman, which explores hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM0. Translated by Branwen Davies, there will be a Welsh and English version available to stream for free, to ensure a wide range of listeners can experience this powerful and thought-provoking production.
"Following on from the success of TREMOLO, Wales Gene Park is delighted to be working once again with Illumine Theatre to support their new collaboration, DEUCE, with Genomics Partnership Wales. This exciting project brings together the arts and science as a way of engaging with the public about genetics and genomics and the important role they play in medicine, health and, ultimately, people’s lives." Dr Rhian Morgan, Wales Gene Park.
The 30-minute podcast tells the story of Alys, a teenage tennis player who collapses during the final of the Girls' Junior Championship at Wimbledon. As first aiders realise she is in cardiac arrest, she is rushed to hospital, where she lies in a coma. Here, she is visited by her late father, Daf, a previous professional tennis player who Alys hopes to emulate.
The world as Alys knows it is then turned upside down when doctors diagnose her with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM); a condition where the muscular wall of the heart becomes thickened and pumping blood around the body becomes more difficult. With renowned professional athletes like footballer Fabrice Muamba and basketballers Hank Gathers and Will Kimble famously diagnosed, the condition has frequently appeared in real-world headlines due to its potential impact. Not only does Alys understand that her diagnosis could spell the end of her own career, she realises that this inherited condition, caused by a fault in her genome, could have also been the cause of her father's so-far unexplained death.
Lisa's script, informed by the experience of experts in genetics and genomics, cardiologists and those living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, explores the life-changing impact of diagnosis on relationships, ambitions and mental health. As Alys leans on her father for support in coming to terms with the idea of returning to her body and to a life without professional tennis, she begins to understand that she must ultimately move beyond the grief she feels for him, while navigating a challenging new reality.
Lisa Parry said "Researching this drama was an incredibly moving experience where people shared their stories. It feels right to tell this through audio, which is a really intimate form of storytelling where the listener conjures the images in their own mind. I love the fact people will be able to listen to it on their phones, wherever they are, and can't wait to get into the rehearsal room."
"Genomics Partnership Wales is delighted to fund such an innovative project with Illumine Theatre. Our overall aim is to exploit the opportunities that genomics provides to improve healthcare and wellbeing for our patients in Wales. Following the success of TREMOLO , we know that this creative approach helps the wider population understand the relevance and importance of genomics for individuals and families. This will be key as technology improves, and our understanding and application of genomics increases." Michaela John, Head of Programmes for GPW.
The Light In The Hall actress Ella Peel will play Alys. Ella has appeared in a range of productions both on screen and on stage and her credits include work with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, HBO, BBC Wales, Boom Cymru and BBC Radio Cymru. Ella said "I'm really excited to work on this project. Firstly the script is captivating, and each reading brings another layer of meaning and illuminates another theme which I'm really looking forward to explore in rehearsals. I was made to feel so welcome and relaxed at the audition that I left really wanting to work with these incredible creatives and I feel very lucky to have landed the role."
Actor and theatre director Daniel Lloyd will play Daf. Daniel's work includes a number of productions for Theatr Clwyd and upcoming work on 4 Stories' Wet Look for Blacklight/Channel 4. He is currently appearing in season 4 of SKY ONE’s Brassic and plays Mered in Roger William’s upcoming film Y Sŵn for S4C, directed by Lee Haven Jones. Daniel said "I am thrilled to be playing Daf in DEUCE. For me, it's a fascinating play about the painful cost of placing ambition and success above all else in life - even to the detriment of our health. Something that so much of us can relate to. It is a heartfelt discussion between a father and daughter, both of whom are forced to face their own mortality, their choices and priorities, their relationship, their shared traits - both good and bad and their regrets. What would we say to those we have loved and lost? It's a great challenge to tackle a role like this and I'm so glad it's being made available for both Welsh and English audiences to enjoy."
The commentators will be played by Gareth John Bale, who is known best for his starring role in stage show Grav, which he recently reprised in the BAFTA-winning screen version for S4C and Mali Ann Rees who has recently appeared in season 2 of The Pact for BBC One.
Actor and BAFTA-winning writer Mari Beard will play Alys' mother Bethan. Mari has appeared in a number of TV and stage shows, radio programmes and podcasts.
DEUCE will be recorded at Hoot Studios and edited by Rhys Young. The podcast will be released in May this year and will be available to listen to and download via several platforms including Apple, Spotify and Anchor as well as the GPW, WGP and Illumine Theatre's website.