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Iphigenia in Splott

By: Gary Owen
Narrated by: Sophie Melville
Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Go Behind the Scenes with Sophie Melville

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"Iphigenia was Agamemnon’s daughter, sacrificed by her father to ensure a fair wind to Troy and to further the ambitions of men. But who are the Iphigenias of today, being sacrificed in the pursuit of growth and profit? Seeing the heart torn out of your community and services cut is like having your tongue put out."

- The Guardian
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Our favorite moments from Iphigenia in Splott

Ladies and gents, I’ve come to collect.
I see him seeing me.
As on my own as I can be.
I remember shouting like that.

  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • Ladies and gents, I’ve come to collect.
  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • I see him seeing me.
  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • As on my own as I can be.
  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • I remember shouting like that.
Sophie Melville

About the Performer

Sophie Melville professionally trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. From there, she went on to star in a number of theatrical productions including Blue, Close Quarters, Pops, No One Will Tell Me How to Start a Revolution, The Divide, and Pagans, performing in theaters ranging from the Old Vic in London to the 59E59 Theaters in New York City. Her 2016 performance in Blackbird earned her the Wales Theatre Award for Best Female Performance, adding to the multitude of awards she won for her role in Iphigenia in Splott, which included the Stage Award for Acting Excellence at Edinburgh Fringe, the Wales Theatre Award for Best Female Performance, and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. Melville has also been featured in the sci-fi comedy Canaries, as well as several television shows, including the BBC Three-commissioned The Left Behind and BBC One’s The Missing.

Rachel O’Riordan

About the Director

Rachel O’Riordan recently joined the Lyric Hammersmith in London as their Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive. Prior to this, she was the Artistic Director of Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre, where she has directed The Cherry Orchard, Killology (a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre in London); The Weir (a co-production with the Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol); Bird (a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester); A Doll’s House; Iphigenia in Splott on its UK tour and at the National Theatre; Romeo & Juliet; and Arabian Nights. Killology won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre and was the first co-production between a Welsh theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. Iphigenia in Splott won both the UK Theatre Award for Best New Play and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama. It was the first production by a Welsh producing house to transfer to the National Theatre. Under Rachel’s leadership, the Sherman Theatre became the first theatre in Wales to win the Stage Awards Regional Theatre of the Year title in 2018.

Rachel’s work has been performed internationally. In 2018 Rachel directed Come On Home at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. In 2017 Iphigenia in Splott was performed at New York’s Brits Off Broadway season and was the only production by a UK company to be selected to be part of FIND Festival at Berlin’s iconic Schaubühne. She has recently worked for the British Council in Kiev, developing new artists. Before joining Sherman Theatre, Rachel was Artistic Director at Perth Theatre in Scotland. She holds a PhD from the University of Ulster.

Gary Owen

About the Writer

Welsh playwright and screenwriter Gary Owen is the creator of a number of highly acclaimed productions, including the Olivier Award winner Killology, which premiered at the Sherman Theatre in 2017, Violence and Son, which had its premiere at the Royal Court in 2015, and 2015’s Iphigenia in Splott, winner of the James Tait Black Prize for Drama. His other works include Love Steals Us From Loneliness, Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco, The Shadow of a Boy (which was awarded both the Meyer Whitworth Award and the George Devine Award), The Drowned World (winner of the Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the Pearson Best Play Award), Ghost City, Cancer Time, SK8, Big Hopes, In the Pipeline, Blackthorn, Mary Twice, Amgen: Broken, Bulletproof, and Free Folk. He has also adapted several plays and musicals for both the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (Spring Awakening and Ring Ring, a new version of La Ronde) and the Sherman Cymru (A Christmas Carol). In addition to his position as an associate artist at Sherman Cymru, Owen is also a creative associate at the Watford Palace Theatre, where his plays We That Are Left, Mrs. Reynolds and the Ruffian, and Perfect Match have been produced. He is the co-creator and co-writer of two seasons of Baker Boys, a BBC Wales original series.

What members say

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Iphigenia moves from Aulis to Splott

If you listen to nothing else, listen to this play. Very raw. Very real. It brings into focus, with painful clarity, what it means to be sacrificed "for the good of the State".

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  • Simon
  • 03-20-19

Short, but Hard Hitting!

Iphigenia in Splott, what an absolute triumph! Sophie Melville delivers the kind of performance that just defies description in Gary Owen's powerful play. Effie is a character that at first seems to lack any kind of redeeming feature and make no mistake if you don't like swearing you are going to have a difficult time with her. Check out the samples provided before downloading to get a fair idea of what to expect.

Effie's a product of a country where we've lost all true sense of value sacrificing what's truly important on an altar of corporate greed. Where basic services are valued lower than profit and fat cat bonuses.

Once you get past her rough exterior you notice that underneath there is a kind of nobility about Effie as she gets dragged down by a world that doesn't have the time or resources to care. This really is a play for our times and Melville's performance is as good as anything I have ever heard on Audible! It sent shivers down my spine, revolted me, enthralled me and in no small measure moved me.

This is rough, hard-edged and challenged me to think yet again about how skewed our value system has become!

Footnote: The play only lasts about an hour and twenty minutes with the last half an hour or so being an additional feature; interviews with Owen and Melville. Still interesting but means the play might come to a halt quicker than you might have imagined.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Patterson
  • 04-07-19

wonderful and disturbing.

You hate then love Effy in this marvelous re-telling of a torrid Greek take. Capricious god's and wild heroines are alive and kicking in Wales.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-06-19

captivating, hilarious, shocking, heartbreaking<br />

I wasn't sure about this at initially but I am so glad that I took the time to listen. A truly well considered, empathetic and compassionate view of a character that most would write off. We all rise and fall based on the expectations placed on us by society and our belief of whether we are deserving of love and compassion

3 people found this helpful

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  • Miss J. R. Wellington
  • 04-06-19

Poignant

When I listened to this, I was driving. At first, I detested the protagonist. I wanted to turn it off. but I couldn't. I'm glad I was driving. Annoying as she was, I couldn't help but connect with Iphi. Well done.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Oli
  • 04-06-19

PHENOMENAL!!!!

absolutely amazing performance!!
my favourite Audible book in many years.
I was captivated from start to finish.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Philippa Neal
  • 04-06-19

Powerful and gritty monologue. Excellent!

brilliant monologue that i couldnt stop listening to till the end. Fantastic performer. Just hooked you in and made every word believable.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jane Lawton
  • 04-06-19

One of the best things I have ever listened to

An amazing story and performance. So glad I went back to it after deciding it wasn’t for me in the first ten minutes. Having nothing better to do, I listened to the interviews and decided to give it another go. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

2 people found this helpful

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  • missusmoo
  • 04-05-19

Amazing, could not stop listening

I listened to the whole play in one go even after getting home in the middle of the night from a long haul flight. It was utterly gripping. I’m from Wales and the feel of Effie, her Nan, her boyfriend was perfection - she reminded me of people I knew. The story is wonderful and the interviews with playwright and actress also added to the overall enjoyment of the piece.

2 people found this helpful

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  • andrina suggitt
  • 03-26-19

Top class

Hope to see this play live. The girl Sophie melville is outstanding.
Felt every emotion, pictured every scene as if I was there with her. Very well written and read. Thankyou.

4 people found this helpful

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  • pixie
  • 04-19-19

Greek, but Welsh. But more universal than that...

I had no clue what to expect. I’ve never read the classics, couldn’t even tell you why I chose to download this play. But I’m extremely glad I did. It’s clearly a very contemporary take on an ancient theme, and written with such poigniancy that the actor’s personality and message are delivered with a clarity and power that it’s impossible to hate her. Impossible not to empathise, in the end. Fantastic performance. Obnoxious character. Terrifying reality. Vivid reality. Well worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful