The Dorothy Parker Society is always thrilled to hear about foreign translations of her work, because it continues to show the universal appeal of her words. In the past few years Mrs. Parker’s work has been presented in Portuguese, French, German and Russian. There have been English-language adaptations of her work put into productions recently in Ireland and South Africa, to name just two countries we’ve heard from around the world.
We are thrilled to learn that Dutch is the next language to tackle Dorothy Parker. We were notified by Marieke van Ommeren of a new one-woman play that will take place in the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands. The play is titled “Vrouw Alleen,” which means “Woman Alone.” The show adapts some of Mrs. Parker’s best-loved short stories.
Marieke says, “This special Dorothy Parker-weekend will take place on the 11th, 12th & 13th of March 2011 and will be performed in the form of a monologue by Evrim Kurc, a professional actress and also well-experienced in playing texts from writers such as Fernando Pessoa and Federico García Lorca. The director, Boris van den Wijngaard, is a well-experienced actor as well and also specialised in adapting and directing literary texts from literature all over the world.”
“Salon Saffier is the name of our theater, and translated it means Salon of Sapphire. It is one of the smallest, but therefore very charming literary theaters in our country.”
Whenever a new production of Mrs. Parker’s work takes place, we try and give it as much attention as possible. We sent a few questions to Marieke, and these are the replies:
Q: Who translated the work, and is this the first Dutch play about Dorothy Parker?
A: Many Parker-translations appeared in Dutch over the years, since 1969. The texts, upon which our play is based, are translated by Frederique van der Velde. Director Boris van den Wijngaard based his selection upon her work. For this adaption he chose mostly stories and a couple of poems. The stories include “A Telephone Call,” “Big Blonde,” “The Waltz,” “The Lovely Leave,” “New York to Detroit,” “Arrangement in Black and White” and “You Were Perfectly Fine.” “Woman Alone” arose from this selection, and no words of our own are added; everything will be in the words that Parker wrote. Translated, that is. We believe that this selection will translate to our audience the spirit of Parker and hopefully a well-built image of who she was.
Music will also be added; Cole Porter will be one of them. The musical selection hasn’t been fully decided yet. “Woman Alone” is the first solo play ever about Parker in Holland. In 1987, there was also a play, but with multiple characters.
Q: Why do you think Dorothy Parker translates so well and her work is understood in the Netherlands?
We believe that her combination of tragedy and humor appeals to many people, mostly women. It shows strength and bravery with multiple layers. We believe that these elements can inspire people, also due to the fact that her work is very accessible.
Q: Can you tell me more about Evrim?
A: Evrim is a young, energetic actress. She graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts a couple of years ago and since then she has played in diverse productions, on stage as well as on TV. But her heart lies in the translation of bringing literary texts to the stage. In 2009, she played in an adaption of texts written by Fernando Pessoa, called “Koningskinderen” (“Children of Kings”), which was the first time these texts were translated in Dutch and brought to the stage. In 2010 she played in an adaption of texts written by Federico Garcia Lorca, called “Groen ik houd zo van je groen” (“Green, How I Love You Green”). Both productions were very successful and were also created by Boris van den Wijngaard. They appeared to be a golden duo. “Women Alone” is Evrim’s first big solo play.
Thank you for answering our questions.
Congratulations to the cast and crew. And if you happen to be near Utrecht, please try and attend “Vrouw Alleen.”