Spanish Class is making the Fall Play available to the Spanish Community

The 2015 fall play “The Rainmaker” will feature a special performance on Nov. 13 for the Spanish-speaking community.

“The Rainmaker” is a romantic comedy about a woman who falls in love with a traveler who vows to bring rain to a small Texas town. Director Ryan Long says this play has been on her short list for several years, and she chose it for the fall play due to the strong female lead character. Freshman Madeline Hire plays that role, and senior Aaron Turnbull is the title character.

For the Spanish performance, Professor Nathaniel Reiss’ Spanish translation class has been working to create Spanish subtitles for the fall play. He said the project has been a great real-word application for students.

"Of course, our students learn the principles of translation: theory, techniques, strategies, etc.,” Reiss said. “But opportunities to engage in ‘real’ projects as opposed to classroom exercises bring an element of authenticity and unpredictability to the learning process.”

Turnbull has experienced the project from both sides — as an actor in the play and as a student in the translation class. He said the project has all sorts of benefits for the campus and the community.

“Not only does a Spanish performance bring the community of Mount Vernon together, but we are actually helping foster a relationship between a department of academics and the theater department,” Turnbull said.

Though there is not a large Spanish-speaking population on campus, there is a significant Spanish community in the community. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates close to 1,000 Hispanic or Latino residents among the 16,000 who live in Mount Vernon.

This is the second time the drama program will present a special performance for the local Spanish-speaking community.

“Last year we did ‘Anon(ymous)’ which dealt a lot with immigration and the struggles involved with being from another culture in a new place,” Long said. “I wanted to find a way to make that production accessible to people who might relate to it just as much as some of our English-speaking audience members but who might not be able to enjoy it because of the language barrier.”

One of the main challenges students have encountered while translating this year’s play deals with contextual issues and making sure metaphoric phrases and figures of speech keep their meaning in the translation.

“The play is written in Western slang so it is difficult to translate,” said Spanish student Rebecca Wright.

If you are interested in seeing the fall play or would like more information, go to www.theatre.mvnu.edu. Showtimes are Nov. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.

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