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Day 5

Posted by: Yocheved | July 12, 2011 | No Comment |

So much for blogging every day, right?   Sorry the server went down—something was up with all qwriting, not just my blog.

On Friday we had class at 11 with Denis O’Brien.  We discussed hiberno-English and how Yeats and Lady Gregory started the National Theatre of Ireland, which became the Abbey Theatre (where we saw Translations) because it was on Abbey Street.    Yeats didn’t speak Gaelic, but he advocated using the hiberno-English dialect that applied rules of Irish grammar to English words—basically, the Hollywood versions of Irish we see in the movies.  This was part of an attempt to preserve the Irish culture.  Despite the hatred between the Irish and the English, the Irish (especially those in the cities) were imitating the English ways—taking on their language for instance.

Yeats and Lady Gregory advocated using theatre to jumpstart the embrace of Irish culture because theatre is a collaborative effort, and because theatre appealed to Irish tradition of oral storytelling.   Irish plays are usually set in a cottage in a small village in Ireland, because those villages had a more pure Irish culture that was not so adulterated by English and other influences.

Yeats encouraged J.M. Synge, the playwright of Playboy of the Western World to go out to the Aran Islands.  Synge had been studying French drama and criticism, but in 1896 Yeats told him:

“Give up Paris. You will never create anything by reading Racine, and Arthur Symons will always be a better critic of French literature. Go to the Aran Islands. Live there as if you were one of the people themselves; express a life that has never found expression.”

Synge did just that—he went out and lived in the Aran Islands for years.  He was also influenced by such good old Americans as Whitman, Thoreau, and Emerson.  And then he came out with Playboy, which we then discussed in class as a play about collaboration: Christy Mahan and the villagers collaborate to create the idealized persona of the Playboy, which Christy then transforms into.

Then we had a lunch break.  I took Eileen’s advice and went down to Moore Street and bought some fruit—it was really very cheap.  I also got some grapes and cherries to give the chabad rabbi as a thank you present for having me.

I got back to school in time to change for Patrick’s class.  It was a lot of fun.  First we did some improvised scenes, aiming for less conversation and more pauses.  Then we had small improv scenes with the rest of the class watching that were very still.  I didn’t go in for those so much.  Patrick also had us stand still without moving at all while he said different lines for us to think about—“Something has reminded you of your childhood,” and so on.  I think the general idea was to relax the idea that you always have to be “performing” and doing something big and brilliant onstage—the important thing is just that you be present in your body.

Then we did our Godot scenes and our short Beckett scenes.  For “Not I,” Patrick had people stand behind us and check to make sure that our shoulders weren’t moving while we talked.  He said whoever moved her shoulders the least would get a cash prize.  I won, having moved my shoulders only twice, and got a euro!

Patrick, and indeed all the girls, are fascinated by Judaism, especially by Shabbos and shomer negiah.  They asked me all about what we do and don’t do on Shabbos and all about our dating process and whom I’m allowed to marry and so forth.  Some of the girls even expressed an interest in going to a shul and a Shabbos meal and seeing what it was like.  I didn’t bring them to the Chabad with me.

After class I packed and showered (I managed to get hot water in our room!) and headed off to the Chabad.  I took the bus to the shul (which is next to the rabbi’s house), but it turns out that the student center, where I was to sleep, was a good 20 minute walk away, so I had to walk to the center and then back for the meal at the rabbi’s.  The student center is very nice, though, and I had my own room, which after sharing with three other girls, I very much appreciated.  The girl running the center is from France and very nice, and we also met some Israelis, and a Dubliner named Tim, who are staying at the center more full time.

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