Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tales of Bangor #16 (Rhif un deg chwech) - Hecyra uninterrupted

After two months of speaking, living and breathing English (and a little bit of Welsh) I decided it was about time to remember my second subject of study and the Roman Empire. A couple of weeks ago a hand-written, black-and-white A4 poster pinned up amongst many big and colourful ones caught my eye despite its inconspicuousness, informing me about an open lecture on Pompeji and Herculaneum. The announcement that it would be based on visuals made the event all the more attractive. I had time and decided to attend.

I arrived at the old, dark, wood-pannelled and musty smelling Council Chamber (after having been misdirected by these hopeless uni reception clerks once again... Someone should really supply them with a site-map of the uni building!!) to find one elderly lady sitting there on her own, waiting. She informed me that I was quite in the right place and that she expected the others to be here soon.

And soon they came: 14 people aged 60 years and older and there I was amongst them, smiling, beginning to feel very much out of place and wanting to leave. I stayed, of course, and the lecture proved to be interesting, although most of the information presented was not new to me.

Afterwards, the Oldies thanked me a hundred times for coming and expressed their hopes of seeing me again: A play reading would be the next occasion for gathering. Terence's Hecyra it would be and they would read it aloud with roles being evenly distributed. Oh, and, please, if I would come. That would be lovely. There would always a glass of wine and a few biscuits, really lovely, to be sure.
I was overwhelmed by their kindness and their enthusiasm and readily promised to put in an appearance, especially as I had not read any comedy by Terence before. (Moreover, I had lately begun to miss Roman comedy, acting and readings of that kind and the thought of it was, therefore, quite appealing).


Two weeks later I found my way to a tiny little room somewhere deep down in the dungeon of Uni Bangor, where I joined four members of the Classical Association. They were delighted to see me and so was I to join them - they are really sweet! Immediately, I was assigned the task of arranging digestives (= plain biscuits) on small plates ("Let the young do the work!") and was supplied with a little glass of port and a copy of an English translation of Terence's Comedies. I was going to be the young male protagonist Pamphilus (funny, innit?) and his ex-mistress Bacchis (likewise funny, considering the only Latin comedy I ever completely read in Latin was Plautus' "Bacchides") and off we went.
The enthusiasm and vivacity with which my fellow-readers dived straight into the comedy took me by surprise, but I played along with the same degree of commitment and we had a great many laughs during the following 90 minutes.

After having been reminded of the play-reading of Shakespeare's "Caesar" (which I had to turn down due to on-coming and eagerly anticipated visits) and invited to a field trip to a Roman fort in Conwy Valley in April (followed by having tea [i.e. dinner] together, which I was assured would always be really lovely) I bid the group a cheerful farewell and climbed several flights of stairs in an attempt to find my way out of the partly-locked building, leaving the Oldies to wait for the rescue team that would enable them to use the elevator.

I like this group. And I like their activities. And I do not mind at all that most of the members are 4 times older than I am because they are all charming, funny and welcoming to such an extent that I really look forward to the gathering.

And it can't hurt to keep my mind on the old Romans and their literature either.

4 comments:

The Plashing Vole said...

Was it led by John Ellis Jones?

Kristina said...

Yes! How come you know EVERYONE? I mean, Bangor is small..... but still!

Master of Ceremony said...

Pamphilus, oide hittn!

El-Mo said...

Ich find's sooo faszinierend, dass du immer auf die coolsten Sachen stößt. Imponierend und inspirierend! :D