Lorna has abandoned the field of political statistics to return to the intellectually laden fields of theatre. Her article this week is an ad for the presentation of a Vinaver play somewhere in Malta (does not say where). Apparently the French playwright’s work has been translated to the vernacular by the Dame herself much to the surprise of university lecturer Richard Spiteri. Here are a few gems from her presentation:
Writers are made of the same fabric as we are. But they see things differently. That is why I enthusiastically await a Vinaver’s version of reality. To see all through his eyes not yours or mine. But some may justly (rightly?) ask who he is. A Vinaver indeed. A Michel Vinaver. A contemporary French writer who has taken first France and, later, the world by storm. A creator of theatre who can only be described theatrically. A lecturer of la Sorbonne (Credit S101: la Sorbonne). His 1964 play Hôtel Iphigenie was turned into a TV film and one of the more recent plays by the same author include 11th September 2001 (actually the most recent play by Vinaver IS “11th September 2001” – and it premiered in LA in 2005).
Vinaver’s life as an author leaves nothing to be desired. Also known as France’s translator of Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land, his works have been translated, published, studied, applauded and criticised (one would add performed). His repute (as in ill repute?) nowadays is, beyond any doubt, an international one.
Especially appealing to Francophiles, this year I have taken the opportunity to delve deeper into the mystical French language as well as its psyche (The Mystique and Psyche of the French Language – I foresee a bestseller) through the Vinaver medium (is the fact that she delved deeper especially appealing to Francophiles?). When I told Richard Spiteri, a university lecturer, about my idea, (this comma is brought to you by Yellow Pages) I guess he thought I will never spend so many hours translating. However, I was more than pleased to show him he had highly underestimated my enthusiasm (do we ever?).
So, this year’s work, which is a comedy, started off at the translation stage. A translation that included a transposition and adaptation of the environment from a French one to a Maltese one, to the point of including some Maltese (very) popular names on stage instead of the unfamiliar French ones. The humour, therefore, also starts off with the casting and the choice of characters’ names. (Don’t you just cringe at the thought? The creative pen of the Gramatically Challenged transforming a Jacques into a Zeppi and a Celine to an Eileen?)
The end-product is surprisingly Maltese. The actors will include Tony Ellul (main actor as well as director), Veronica Farrugia (main actress), Mariella Aquilina (Pamela, the mature journalist), Olivia-Anne Pace Marmara (Daphne, the not-so-less influential journalist), David Rizzo (the hamallu), Sarah Lee Zammit (the over-ambitious journalist trying to break through), Dorian Micallef (Magistrate Xuereb) and Joelene Penza (seemingly-idiotic-involuntarily-philosophic secretary). (There you go… the cheap jibe at Daphne… and for a minute I thought that Olivia-Ann and Sarah Lee were invented stage names!)
I don’t know about you but I know where I am going to be on November 4th after 6. And that’s definitely not watching Lorna Vassallo’s Hamallisation of Vinaver’s The Television Programme. Bet you she’ll be expecting many a “Prosit tal-Programm” though!