Monday, March 23, 2009

Jings! Is A Bonny, Braw Day Tae Blether In Scots!

That’s right my friends! It is a beautiful, fine day here in Scotland. I’m writing the ol’ blog this morning because after an intense weekend with my script writing project, I was simply dead yesterday. Or, deid yestreen, as they might say here in Scotland.

This weekend I did a crash course in the Scots language in an effort to make the speech of the Scottish character in my script more authentic. I didn’t think that I was writing a bilingual script when I started out, but oh yes, I was. In Scotland there are three languages and maybe a few more if you count what they speak on some of the rural islands. You have English (thank goodness!!), Gaelic, which is not the same as Irish Gaelic but similar and they speak Scots. Scots is definitely its own language but developed from a wide variety of influences. It might be described as a sort of fusion of several of the groups that have invaded and settled in Scotland over the centuries. There is a heavy English influence, of course, and Norse, amongst others. Many of the words have a Germanic sound such as a hard ‘ch’ as found in ‘Bach’. I spent Friday and Saturday listening to audio recordings of some of the language and accents and referred to several books. I looked at some scripts written by Scottish playwrights as well as some phrase and culture books. I read a dictionary cover to cover. Seriously, I read a 271 page Scots dictionary from front to back. And then I started my translation. I took what I wrote in my version of standard American English and translated it in to a mix of Scots and Scottish English. My Scottish character’s language is an attempt to capture what you might hear from the local people on the streets in Edinburgh. In the north of Scotland the Scots gets thicker and English gets thinner. I hope to travel up north this spring and hear it for myself. I’m sure my Scottish mentor will have some suggestions on how to improve the speech but I think it was barrie shottie on my pairt.

In other news, the Shakespeare plays have been cast. I am in both. I have a small part in King Lear; I’m a servant named Oswald. And four parts in Julius Caesar. I am Calpurina (aka Mrs. Caesar), Cinna the Poet, Titinius and a Servant to Antony. These are smaller rolls but all together they add up to a big responsibility. I am thrilled about all of these. I have some really great scenes including three death scenes! Cinna the Poet gets lynch mobbed! An actor couldn’t ask for a better way to go. We have two weeks before rehearsals commence. In the meantime, I have a lot of work to do to prepare. Two plays to study and five characters to develop! Whoa, I have my work cut out for me. But I am excited!!

Tomorrow I report to my professional placement. This is an internship. I will be working at the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland. Playwrights’ Studio is dedicated to cultivating playwrights and new works in Scotland. Some projects even cross the boarder and include the whole of the UK. They are a fantastic group of people committed to a cause I love. So, hi ho hi ho, it’s off to work I go. I’ll keep you posted!

Tune in next week for more Melanie madness!
Take care!

No comments: