Thursday, May 29, 2008

a good knowledge of English

In 1896, English was made the official language of instruction in all schools in Hawai'i.

In 1903, a writer in Paradise of the Pacific wrote this:

"By the end of this century Hawaiian speech will have as little usage as Gaelic or Irish has now . . . The native children in the public and private schools are getting a good knowledge of English, and indeed, it would be doing them an injustice to deny them instruction in English speech."

quote in Shutz, Albert J, The Voices of Eden, Honolulu, U Hawai'i P, 1994, p. 355.

Istanbul, not Constantinople

In meeting with the wonderful artist/scholar Laura Ruby today, we were talking about how the Hawaiians, once exposed to the concept of literacy by the missionaries, set about very quickly to write down their legends, stories, and practices in Hawaiian, and that written Hawaiian became an important means of cultural transmission in the mid-1800s. It wasn't until quite a bit later that English began to supercede Hawaiian.

I found a poem fragment today in an article on Friel:

from "Mise Eire" by Eevan Boland

a new language
is a kind of scar
and heals after a while
into a passable imitation
of what went before.

Outside History. New York: Norton, 1990. 78-79, qtd. in "It's the Same Me, Isn't It?': The Language Question and Brian Friel's Translations". By: Baker, Charles, Midwest Quarterly, Spring 2000 (41.3).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Translations Audition Information

Casting 3-4 Women, 6-7 Men
Translations by Brian Friel
Premiere: 1980, Field Day Theater in Derry

Performances Jan. 21-25. 2009
Earle Ernst Lab Theatre
Director Lurana Donnels O’Malley
Set Designer: Melissa Cozza
Costume Designer: Hannah Schauer
Music Director Sean T.C. O’Malley
Other designers TBA

• Scripts are now available in the Theatre and Dance departmental office for checkout.
• Auditions will be held concurrently with Macbeth auditions, in early September 2008.

The play, by one of Ireland’s most celebrated playwrights, is a meditation on colonialism and language. Set in 1833, it treats the events in the small Irish village of Baile Beag surrounding the arrival of British mapmakers. The Anglicizing of the names of each river, village, and local site foreshadows the loss of the Irish language, and therefore its culture.

This production is indeed a special project to me in many ways. Of Irish heritage myself, I had read Translations many years ago, and was deeply moved by its evocation of a culture on the brink of extinction. In 1991, I moved to Hawai’i, and as I learned about the losses to Hawaiian language and culture due to the forces of Western economic and cultural imperialism, Friel’s play has much to say to today’s Hawai’i.

This is a Page to Stage production, so will have educational materials, as well as lectures by visiting Irish Studies scholar Susan Cannon Harris from Notre Dame, and a panel featuring local experts.

Casting notes:
You CAN be in Little Snow Fox or Macbeth and do Translations.
You CAN’T be in Sumida River (Noh) or Snow Day and do Translations.

Translations Characters
3-4 Women, 6-7 Men

MANUS Oldest son of Hugh, intense. Lame.

SARAH Teenager. Speech defect.

JIMMY JACK Older bachelor. Fluent in Latin and Greek. He never washes.
MAIRE Young woman, strong-bodied

DOALTY Young man, open-hearted, generous, and slightly thick

BRIDGET Young Woman, ready to laugh, vain

HUGH. Older man with residual dignity, shabbily dressed.
NOTE: Possible cross-casting with female actor.

OWEN dressed smartly, charming, city man

CAPTAIN LANCEY Crsip officer

Lt. YOLLAND Young man, shy, awkward

Audition Information

• Actors of all ethnicities (not just Irish!) considered for all roles.
• In keeping with Friel’s convention of using English as the language for all characters, I do not currently plan to employ Irish or British accents for the roles.
• Cast members will meet with the director for one-on-one character development rehearsals during the weekdays in October.
• Full rehearsals will begin Nov. 24.
• NO REHEARSALS Dec. 20-28. Rehearsals will resume Dec. 29.
• More audition information to follow.
Questions? Contact the director at