The Department of Classics

Diane Rayor's Antigone to be basis of new production in Assam, India

Date: December 23, 2013

Excerpted from CLAS Acts, the newsletter of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

Note: In the April 2009 issue of CLAS Acts, I wrote about a collaboration between Diane Rayor (CLA) and Karen Libman (COM) to produce Diane’s translation of Antigone as part of her process to create a supremely playable translation for publication by Cambridge University Press. The book appeared in April 2011 and has had several productions. What follows is the continuing tale of the additional benefits of that collaboration. ~Monica Johnstone


The Sacred Stage—International Flowering and Fruition

Intrepid traveller Karen Libman, while attending a conference in Orissa, India two years ago, met a theatre director. She made him a gift of the newly published Antigone translated by her colleague Diane Rayor and described how it had come about and how she had become involved in writing some of the ancillary material published in that volume.

A seed had been planted. This year Niranjan Bhuyan (Director of the theatre company Asom Ranga Katha) invited Karen to attend a conference in the state of Asom (AKA Assam, which is nestled in the northeastern part of India near Bangladesh and Bhutan). So Karen made a whirlwind trip to India and Bangladesh over a slightly extended Thanksgiving break to be an international guest speaker (alongside another from Australia) at the Asia Regional Theatre Network Conference 2013.

“In one of the newspapers,” Karen says, “they referred to me in a way I really liked—as a ‘theatre worker’.” She was able to see several visually stunning theatre productions in several languages and participated in a theatre education roundtable discussion. She visited colleges and scouted out locations that would be excellent candidates for trips by our peripatetic Shakespeare troupe, Bard to Go. The very full program proved quite rewarding and the cherry-on-top was the announcement that Bhuyan had decided to produce Antigone, using Diane’s English translation as the basis for his own translation into Assamese. Theatre in his region has a tradition to addressing social issues which makes the themes of Antigone quite relevant for them, too.

Karen loves that this production will be treated to the highly developed local sense of occasion. “They start the process of their production with the ritual breaking of a coconut from which everyone in the production partakes,” Karen explains. “I want to bring that sense of occasion to productions here at GVSU and have started to introduce adaptations of that practice into productions I’m involved in.”



























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