Frame/Works for the production of Isle of Slaves & Aria Da Capo – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Frame/Works for the production of Isle of Slaves & Aria Da Capo

HWS Theatre continues the 2019-2020 Frame/Works series on Friday, Feb. 14 at 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Williams 201. Gretty Hollister ’20 will join Associate Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth to discuss the challenges of translation in a talk titled, “‘Oh the Humanity!’: Redefining 18th Century Humanity in a 21st Century Script.”

What is humanity? How can one be or act human? Why, throughout history, has humanness been subjective or even reserved for some over others? Is humanity inherently human? Among the other questions and commentaries posed by Marivaux’s 1725 work Île des Esclaves, the most prevalent is if humanity can be taught. Through the process of translation, Hollister has attempted to push this and other questions into the modern context, while remaining respectful and cognizant of Marivaux’s original script.

Gizem Husain '21 and Dom Marshall '22 rehearse Isle of Slaves.
Gizem Husain ’21 and Dom Marshall ’22 rehearse Isle of Slaves. The play opens on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in McDonald Theatre. 

But how exactly does one go about translating a play that is almost 300 years old? How can a modern audience relate to this story full of local color and topical jokes from pre-revolutionary France? And how can discussions of humanity and class contribute to a 21st century dialogue? In conversation with Woodworth, Hollister will discuss the genesis of this project, the challenges and joys of translation, and the experience of bringing this play from page to stage.

Hollister is a French and Theatre double major. Originally from Nashotah, Wis., she has been involved in numerous theatrical productions through the HWS Theatre Department, the student-run Phoenix Players and in the Geneva community. Most recently, Hollister appeared as Beatrice in The Servant of Two Masters and in the Smith Opera House’s 125th Anniversary Celebration as Alexa Pamplemousse in Quarantined. Throughout her time at the Colleges, she has conducted research with the Theatre Department and studied abroad in Rennes, France where she studied theatre and French performance. The translation of Marivaux’s Île des Esclaves will culminate in an Honors project presentation later this semester.

Hollister’s talk is free and open to the public. Frame/Works attendees are encouraged to see Isle of Slaves & Aria da Capo that evening. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the Gearan Center Box Office daily beginning Feb. 10 from 3 – 5 p.m.

Frame/Works is a program designed to draw connections between scholarly examination and artistic practice. Scholars or artists are invited to present their research on a play, playwright, historical moment, genre or style in a pre-show lecture prior to a performance. Following the performance, audience members are invited to participate in a post-show talkback with members of the cast and creative team. Taken together, the pre-show lecture and the post-show talkback “frame” a “work” of theatrical art.

Following the Feb. 14 performance of Isle of Slaves & Aria da Capo, audience members are invited to stay for a post-show talk-back with members of the cast and production team.