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Contributed by Susan Monagan on 11/26/2012
Concluding the fall semester offering of plays is Brian Friel’s “Translations”. Performances will be held in the Clark Theatre in Dillingham Center on Dec. 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinee performances on Dec. 8 and 9. There will be a free talk-back presentation following the Dec. 8 matinee.
Ticket prices for “Translations” range from $5.50 to $11 and are on sale at all Ticket Center outlets, including Ticket Center Ithaca on the Commons and the Dillingham Center box office. Call (607) 273-4497, (607) 274-3224 or visit www.ithacaevents.com.
Irish playwright Friel sets “Translations” in a 19th-century village in the days leading up to widespread starvation. British soldiers arrive tasked with drawing a new map of Ireland, replacing all Irish place names with names in English, a language the villagers neither speak nor understand. In the face of this extinction of their cultural heritage and identity, the citizens are forced to choose: follow or fight. Friel has said that the text is “a play about language and only about language,” but it tackles a wide range of issues, including language, communication, Irish history and cultural imperialism.
“There is no such thing as neutral language,” says director Susannah Berryman. “When phonated breath comes out of our bodies, we communicate something. We may not mean to, and we certainly may not convey the message we intend to convey. And as listeners, among mishearing, misunderstanding, and misinterpreting, there are countless opportunities for error.”
While the script itself is entirely written in English, the characters converse in Gaelic and English, and carefully study Latin and Greek. Berryman says, “We employ language for many reasons—to reveal our humanity or hide it, to connect with others or reject them, to learn something we don’t know, to tell stories, and on and on. No matter how much we love words, or how precise we try to be in using them, how much we respect other’s tongues and seek to learn them, we are only one side of the communication equation and have no ultimate control over how we are being understood or misunderstood. And the consequences of misunderstanding can be dire and can reverberate and escalate for centuries.”
The production is designed by Andrew M. Hostler ‘14 (scenic), Johanna Pan ‘13 (costumes), associate professor and chair of theatre arts Steve TenEyck (lighting), and Jason Fok ’13 (sound). Ben Shipley ’13 is the stage manager. Associate professor of theatre arts Colin Stewart and scene shop supervisor John Kontogiannis are the technical directors. The assistant director is Carly Richards ’13.
The cast of “Translations” includes Dan Berlingeri ’13, Laura Brennan ’15, Sarah Charles ’13, Jordan Friend ’16, Luke Hoback ’13, Josh Johnston* ’13, Yanna Lantz ’13, Matt Madden ’15, Andrew Miller ’13, Brett Moellenberg ’13, Matt Prigge ’13, Ariella Serur ’14, Johnny Shea ’16, and Ari Veach ’15.
A nationally recognized professional theatre-training program, the Department of Theatre Arts attracts students from across the United States. Throughout the production season, undergraduate students present all aspects of theatre in a professional model. Visit www.ithaca.edu/hs/depts/theatre/mainstage/ for further information. Also, follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ICTheatreArts) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/ICTheatreArts).
Dillingham Center accommodates all patrons. Individuals with special needs are asked to contact (607) 274-3224 to request accommodations as soon as possible.
* Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
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