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Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Poet's mistress stage role for Streep
Meryl Streep
Streep wants to play the role in Thomas's home town
Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep is reportedly set to play the mistress of Dylan Thomas in a new stage play about the Welsh poet's life.

The Out Of Africa star will appear as American Liz Reitell when Dylan In The Dock opens in the US in 2003 - the 50th anniversary of Thomas's death.

Dylan Thomas
The play is set to open in Dylan Thomas's home town
The poet had a brief affair with Reitell after they met on the set of Under Milk Wood in 1953.

Other actresses may be drafted in for the part during a tour of Europe and Australia.

Streep has said she could take on the role when the play opens at the Taliesin Theatre in Thomas's Swansea home town in 2002.

Penned by Swansea playwright Binda Singh, 45, the play tells the story of the final 72 hours of the infamous Welsh poet's life.

Welsh production

Streep told a national newspaper: "This would be a wonderful opportunity to show the world that Dylan was loved for many different reasons.

"I look forward to being associated with this production that has come from Wales.

"If time allows,` I would love to perform in his home town."

It is one of several other productions about Thomas set for the stage around the world in 2003

Binda Singh, playwright
Diana Charles Productions of Los Angeles bought the script for Dylan In The Dock for a reported US$500,000.

It will be brought from the stage to the big screen after its run.

Mr Singh told BBC News Online: "I have taken the script from various biographies of Dylan Thomas and distilled them all into a play.

"It is one of several other productions about Thomas set for the stage around the world in 2003

"But, living in Swansea, you can't really avoid being a fan of his."

Final days

The play centres on Thomas's final three days in New York City, during which he worked on rehearsals for Under Milk Wood with production assistant Reitell.

The pair struck up the brief relationship during those sessions in November 1953.

It was his fourth tour in the US, but he became tired and ill, and he increasingly turned to alcohol to quell his turbulent emotions.

Dylan Thomas
Thomas's life was characterised by strong emotions and alcohol
He had planned to travel on to California to help Igor Stravinsky write an opera score, but, in the early hours of 5 November, Reitell called an ambulance which took Thomas to the city's St Vincent's Hospital and he fell into a coma.

Wife Caitlin, who had believed her marriage to the poet was over when he left for the US, held vigil at his bedside but, four days later, Thomas died from alcohol poisoning, aged 39.

Mr Singh said his play depicts a series of tragic events, including a scuffle between the two women prior to their lover's death.

Producers are still looking for someone to play the part of the poet himself.

See also:

13 Feb 01 | Wales
Rare Dylan Thomas film found
01 Jan 00 | Wales
Poet Dylan leads arts field
28 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Why did Dylan Thomas die so young?
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