The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Language and Literature Department will present “A Literary Experience: Pacific on Stage” this coming Thursday, April 14th, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the college’s Lecture Hall. ASCC students will give performances based on both historic and recent literature written by Pacific authors in multiple formats. “Our theme is Pacific authors,” said Language and Literature Department chairperson Mrs. Melelina Fiaui, “and many of the pieces detail the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of living in the Pacific, and being of Pacific island descent.”
Categories of literature rehearsed by the ASCC students include poetry performances, original poems, monologues, famous speeches, lyrics and music, dual acting, slam poetry, and a screenplay by students that they have adapted from Lani Wendt Young’s short story “Don’t Tell.” “In the famous speech category, a student will perform Queen Lili’uokalani’s speech made in Washington DC regarding the US Annexation of Hawaii,” shared Mrs. Fiaui, “and in the poetry category a student will interpret ‘Me the Labourer’ by Eti Saaga. The rest of the performances will be original student work that reflects Pacific themes.” As a special addition to the program, the cast of the upcoming Fine Arts Department play, “Once On This Island” will perform a scene from the production, which they will stage in full later this month. Admission to the event is free and the public is welcome.
“Pacific on Stage” will mark the third occasion where the Language and Literature Department presents a literary night. In the months leading up to the event, the department made available a list and brief description of categories students could perform in, with the only requirement being that their select pieces be written by Pacific authors and/or present a Pacific theme. The subsequent auditions were open to all ASCC students, with Language and Literature faculty serving as judges. Once the department had chosen the top performers for each category, each individual student or group was assigned a faculty mentor to work with them as their “literary coach.”
While the event is not associated with any particular ASCC class, Mrs. Fiaui explained that the event aligns with the goals and objectives of the Language and Literature Department, whose mission statement specifies that students will examine cultures, issues and themes in multiple genres and demonstrate critical thinking through literary analysis. “In order to perform a published piece,” she said, “students need to look at the author’s background, as well as the tone, word choice, character, setting, and figurative language of the work, and then ultimately decide what it means to them. For the students who will offer original pieces, they need to be able to write and perform them in such a way as to make clear the tone, feeling, and message. Because of these challenges, the literary night provides an opportunity for students to experience literature in a different light. Instead of reading something on a page, they are performing it, which allows them to apply their unique interpretation.”
For more information on “Pacific on Stage,” contact the ASCC Language and Literature Department at 699-9155, extension 320.