Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


EUROPA, OUR FIRST MIGRANT

EUROPA, OUR FIRST MIGRANT

Margaret Rose, an English playwright working in Italy, has been a guest columnist for ScriptForward!, sharing her expertise on the subject of international translation and collaboration. One of her new translations from Italian to English will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month.

An Italian-Scottish collaboration, Europa, Our First Migrant is a brand new play, drawing on the Greek myth, ‘The Rape of Europa”.  Europa, daughter of the King of Phoenicia, is abducted by the god Zeus, disguised as a bull. Having settled on Crete, this young woman gives birth to three children, including the Minotaur, so engendering the first Europeans. Her brother Cadmus sets off to find her and circulates the alphabet in the new Continent.

The play rewrites the myth, exploring what it means to be European today in a continent which is fast changing. In an often surprising game between past and present, a modern-day Europa and Zeus undertake the journey of the mythical figures from Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon) to Crete, ending up in Scotland. Here Europa discovers that her new country is very different from the Fantarcadia she had been dreaming of.

Europa our First Migrant (English adaptation by Maggie Rose) is based on an Italian play, Europa Migrante (by Salvatore Cabras). Directed by Joe Gallagher and produced by Glasgow’s Replico Company, the play will be performed at the Italian Cultural Institute, 82 Nicolson Street in Edinburgh on the 23rd and 24th of August at 5pm. It will then embark on a two week island and Highlands tour. The production is funded by Creative Scotland, with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture.

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Anne Hamilton Interviewed in Cultural Weekly

There’s a great article on my thoughts on dramaturgy posted on Cultural Weekly’s website. Jaz Dorsey interviewed me. Read on at http://www.culturalweekly.com/theatre-dramaturgs-profession.html

Excerpt:

I describe myself as a literary and historical advisor to the playwright, director, or theatre company I am working with.

Just like an actor or an artist, I believe that the dramaturg’s position in the field derives from her output.

Dramaturgy is a practical profession. We give advice and support to help the playwright advance her play to its next level. We provide and share research in pre-production, and write program notes. We translate and adapt.

Almost everyone in the theatre profession performs dramaturgical duties…



New Play Development in Italy

Margaret Rose was kind enough to serve as a guest columnist in the latest issue of ScriptForward!, where gives us insight into new play development in Italy.

Margaret is a Scottish national who works as a professor in Milan, and actively pursues her career as a playwright in the UK and on the continent.

You can download the article here: Margaret Rose’s Article on New Play Development in Italy – SF! #26

Excerpt:

When Anne Hamilton wrote to me, asking for a short piece dealing with “the new play development process in Italy”, I immediately translated the word ‘process’ into a very definite plural. While Italy this year is celebrating 150 years as a single nation state, in many fields any sense of unity is still tenuous. Theatre and contemporary playwriting are no exceptions to this rule.

Associations for the support and development of playwriting are fairly recent and and thin on the ground. Teatro delle Donne. Centro Nazionale di Drammaturgia (Women’s Theatre. National Centre of Playwriting), founded in Florence in 1991, includes an archive for plays written by women (today numbering nearly 1,000). It also runs a cutting- edge theatre season at the Teatro Comunale Manzoni in Calenzano and in 2004 writer Dacia Maraini set up a National School of Playwriting at the theatre…



ScriptForward! #26

Greetings!

Welcome to the May issue of ScriptForward!, a specialty E-newsletter prepared for professional and aspiring scriptwriters by Hamilton Dramaturgy. With over twenty years of experience in New York, across the nation, and internationally, I offer this newsletter as a means of support and information to the worldwide scriptwriting community.

This month’s guest columnist is Margaret Rose, who shares her experience regarding new play development in Italy.

We also introduce you to 17%, a new organization formed to support and promote female playwrights in the UK.

Please look over the “Recent Successes” section to see all the exciting events which are taking place, especially my direction of a reading of THE STACY PLAY in New York City’s Central Park this month. We also have a great quote of the month from Jennifer Tipton.

And the Burning [An]swer section features advice on how to decide between a stage play and a screenplay when writing about a celebrity.

I hope that this issue of ScriptForward! will be useful to you and I welcome your feedback.

-Anne Hamilton

Read the issue here: Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #26



Translating INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA

Translating INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA:

A Contemporary Korean Play Meets A New York Audience

 By Walter Byongsok Chon

In October 2010, Columbia University saw the staging of WALKABOUT YEOLHA, an adaptation of a Korean play by Sam-Shik Pai.  This production, an M.F.A. thesis project for Korean director Kon Yi (‘11), marked an encounter that, in my opinion, has yet to become more frequent: an exposure to contemporary Korean playwriting for a New York audience.  It was with great pleasure and prestige that I became part of this project as translator of the original play by Pai.

It was in the summer of 2010 that the director Yi contacted me about this play, which, in Korea, premiered at Towol Theater in Seoul Arts Center, directed by Jin-Taek Sohn, in March 2007.  A literal translation of the original title would be INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA, Yeolha being the destination of Jiwon Park (a.k.a. Yeon-Ahm), an 18th-century Korean philosopher who traveled to China in pursuit of practical ideas to modernize Korean society.  Based on Yeon-Ahm’s travelogue, The Jehol Diary, Pai created an allegorical satire, exploring the questions of tradition and innovation.  Pai introduces us to a nearly-fossilized, fictive village in a desert, and guides us through the turbulence the village undergoes at its first encounter with what the villagers call the “exotic.”  Yeon-Ahm, the narrator of the play, is a “four-legged beast” and, as she tells the villagers of the world outside the village, provides the initial conflict of the play.  Her talking eventually makes her the scapegoat to save the village from being “erased.”

In the American theatre scene, contemporary Korean playwrights are only to be found by avid researchers aiming to find them. Part of the reason is that Korea’s theatre development suffered a disconnect in the early twentieth century while it was under the dominance of Japan.  Only after 1950 could Korean theatre emerge again.  In the director’s note, Yi mentions he found only three Korean playwrights whose works had been translated into English – Taesuk Oh, Yun-taek Lee and Kang-baek Lee – which gave him a strong incentive to bring YEOLHA to life in New York.  Though the three aforementioned playwrights are some of the most recognized playwrights in Korea, hardly any of their work has received a professional production in America.  In theatre history education, the significance of Korean theatre is mostly allotted to the ritual tradition of Kut and mask dance called Talchum.  However, these modern and contemporary playwrights are hardly covered compared to well-recognized Asian playwrights such as Gao Xingjian (China, THE BUS STOP, THE OTHER SHORE) or Yukio Mishima (Japan, THE LADY AOI).  While Korean-related themes are depicted by playwrights such as Young-Jean Lee (SONGS OF THE DRAGONS FLYING TO HEAVEN) and Lloyd Suh (AMERICAN HWANGAP), it is reasonable to say that these two authors write from a distinctive Korean-American perspective.

The American audience was first exposed to a Korean theatre production with the LaMaMa production of PRINCE HAMYUL, an adaptation of HAMLET, directed by Minsoo Ahn, in 1977.  A revival of this piece called HAMYUL/HAMLET played LaMaMa in July 2011, directed by Byungkoo Ahn, the son of Minsoo Ahn.  Recently, more Korean troupes have been bringing their acclaimed productions to America. In 2009, Sadari Movement Laboratory performed their adaptation of Georg Büchner’s WOYZCEK, directed by Do-Wan Lim, at the Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar Festival.  Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts (SFPA) put on their adaptation of Euripides’ MEDEA, called MEDEA AND ITS DOUBLE, at LaMaMa in January 2010.   These companies imaginatively fused western classics with traditional Korean performance elements and created original works crossing over both cultural traditions.

For our WALKABOUT production, the guarantee of performance, combined with the significance of representing a new Korean play to the New York audience, was certainly a big advantage as I entered into the translation.  Picturing the performance venue, I imagined how the words of Pai could be delivered to the audience.  My primary objective was to enable fluent communication between the two cultures: making what is Korean in Pai’s text present and relevant for the American audience.  As is frequently touched upon, translation entails “cultural interpretation” and, therefore, requires not only proficiency in both languages but also a complete embracing of both cultures.

In YEOLHA, my first challenge was to make explicit and active what is innately Korean.  The village in the play takes after a traditional Korean village that operates on a hierarchy based on patriarchy and gerontocracy.  What is unique in terms of language among people who have become so familiar with each other is that they often use insinuating and provocative remarks in place of straightforward statements.  For example, to a prodigal son who returned home after a long absence, a Korean mother would reservedly say, “You’re back already? Are you sure you had enough fun out there?” instead of bursting into tears and showing her joy at the reunion.  In the play, the villagers by now have absorbed this kind of language pattern, which reflects the intimacy among them.  The language among the villagers also reflects the hierarchy.  For example, a village senior could throw a denigrating comment to a village woman or boy without being considered the least bit insulting.  Showing respect for elders is, after all, deep in the Korean cultural genes, and elders, if not receiving the proper respect, actively demand it.  While the play clearly provides the appropriate context for the tone of each word, it was my venture, when it came to the underlying Korean sentiments, to find the right expressions to convey the subtle nuance.

More broadly, delivering the right tone was of utmost importance for the allegory and satire in this play.  The idea which prevails in the story – tradition being threatened by innovation – establishes this play as an allegory about the danger of complacency, while the chaos the villagers go through in the struggle brings out comic and satiric elements.  Conflict occurs more often between groups or between individual and group than between individuals, so each character needed not only to breathe as an individual, but also to be characterized as a type, that is, as a member of a certain group.  For example, the men, in general, give straightforward addresses, while the women speak more in a scrupulous manner. The seniors, to show their authority, use formal and commanding vocabulary, while the boys talk in fragments and colloquial idioms.  The main characters are given their own particular ways of speaking: Yeon-Ahm, the narrator, speaks articulately and objectively, just like the Stage Manager in OUR TOWN; and the Inspector, to emphasize that he belongs to a completely different world, uses bombastic phrases and terms.

After completing the premiere of the adaptation of INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA, I am still seeking to make the original translation more compact and active for the stage.  It is my hope for contemporary Korean plays to be introduced.

WALTER BYONGSOK CHON recently received his MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale School of Drama and is continuing his study at YSD as a DFA candidate in residence, teaching theatre history. He may be reached at Byongsok.chon@yale.edu

This article was published in Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #25 (September, 2011, Vol. 6, No. 25). You may request a subscription by writing to hamiltonlit@hotmail.com.

Download the article here: Translating INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA by Walter Byongsok Chon



ScriptForward! #25 – A Specialty E-newsletter

Greetings!

Welcome to the September issue of ScriptForward!, a specialty E-newsletter prepared for professional and aspiring scriptwriters by Hamilton Dramaturgy. With twenty years of experience in New York, across the nation, and internationally, I offer this newsletter as a means of support and information to the worldwide scriptwriting community.

My lead articles celebrate the lessons I’ve learned in my twenty years as a dramaturg. And the guest feature by Walter Byongsok Chon reveals his process in translating a contemporary Korean play into English for a recent New York City production.

Please look over the Recent Successes section to see all the exciting events which are taking place, especially the launch of Hamilton Dramaturgy Press, which publishes plays, poetry and children’s literature.

Finally, the Burning [An]swer section features information on how an MFA candidate can prepare for a
successful career as a dramaturg.

I hope that this issue of ScriptForward! will be useful to you and I welcome your feedback.

-Anne Hamilton

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #25



Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #24

ANNOUNCING the publication of two new anthologies of my plays and poetry —

ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT And Other Plays and Poetry
THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I And Other Plays and Poetry

Available now at www.lulu.com

Nineteen plays (full-length, short plays, and monologues) feature women in the leading roles.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #24

The lead article is a tribute to one of my mentors, the playwright and novelist Romulus Linney.

Also, be sure to check out the Burning [An]swer section, which features information on the process of self-publishing.