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May 9, 2005

International Playhouse offers a grand tour of languages

By Louise Donahue

Catching a movie or play in another language isn’t that unusual, but how about five productions and five different languages on the same night?

El Retabillo de Don Cristobal (Don Cristobal’s Puppet Stage), is one of the productions.

Now in its fifth year, the International Playhouse does just that, performing its multilingual magic in Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish from May 19 to 22. English “supertitles” will be projected above the stage during each production.

“People really seem to enjoy it,” said Miriam Ellis, a lecturer in French, who coordinates the International Playhouse. “It has something for everyone who knows even a smattering of one of these languages.”

Sponsored by Cowell College and the Language Program at UCSC, the shows will be performed on May 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and May 21 and 22 at 2 p.m., in the Stevenson Event Center at Stevenson College. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Language lecturers volunteer to direct the productions, which feature students in the UCSC Language Program, Ellis said. “This is really a labor of love.”

The following works will be performed:

A Short Dramatic Piece: The Perfect Wife, written and directed by Jackie Ku, lecturer in Chinese.

La Lacune (The Gap) by Ionesco, directed by Ellis. When Ionesco visited the area in 1979, Ellis--then a graduate student--served as his guide and interpreter. "I have a special place in my heart for his works," she said.

Shibiri (Pins and Needles), directed by Sakae Fujita, lecturer in Japanese.

Dramatic Scenes by Daniil Kharms, directed by William Nickell, lecturer in Russian.

El Retabillo de Don Cristobal (Don Cristobal’s Puppet Stage) by Lorca, directed by Paco Ramirez, lecturer in Spanish.

For further information, contact Miriam Ellis at or Sakae Fujita at

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