The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Navigating College Stress: Effective Strategies and Le Moyne Resources for Student Well-being
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College life presents unique challenges and stressors for students, impacting their mental well-being and overall success. This article delves...

via The Huntington
Persistence Into Brilliance: Le Moyne Graduate and Actor Makes Major Mark
Kamilla Shahzad, Staff Writer • September 26, 2023

In the world of theater, Le Moyne College graduate John Douglas Thompson is known to possess an exceptional ability to captivate audiences, effortlessly...

Le Moyne Alum and MLB Star Josiah Gray Nominated for Roberto Clemente Award
Michael Scalise, Staff Writer • September 25, 2023

Here at Le Moyne, the phrase “Greatness meets Goodness” is at the very foundation by which the school stands, and it is safe to say that...

Career Advising & Development at Le Moyne
Career Advising & Development at Le Moyne
Carly Nicolai, Editor in Chief • September 18, 2023

“What do you want to do with your degree?” It’s a question many college students have heard before, whether it comes from friends and...

Growing Sunshine-Colored Flowers: Remembering Father Bosch
Growing Sunshine-Colored Flowers: Remembering Father Bosch
Stephanie R. Duscher, Staff Writer • September 16, 2023

Many Le Moyne students have likely walked by the lovely gardens outside the Jesuit Residence–a beautiful touch of color amidst the many cloudy...

“Chinglish” brings culture to Syracuse

The Le Moyne College honors program lent their applause on this past Sunday, March 2 to the Syracuse Stage to see David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, a play about communication among cultures, specifically, Chinese and English.

Daniel Cavanaugh comes to China to make a business deal. During his stay, Cavanaugh learns the conventions of Chinese culture, even though at first he enters with the mind of an “American business man.” While he doesn’t necessarily leave with a complete understanding of Chinese culture and the business world, he ameliorates his perception of his place as an American man in Asia.

The freshman honors class was accompanied by Dr. Julie Olin-Ammentorp and Irene Liu, an English professor and Philosophy professor, respectively, of Le Moyne College, and the honors program. The students arrived early to attend a prologue, where they met three of the actors and actresses about to perform. Jeff Locker, who plays Peter Timms, lived in Taiwan, China for 15 years as a radio host. He and the other two actresses, Rachel Lieu who plays the leading female role, and Lily Tung Crystal, told the students about Chinglish and its author. Crystal says how Hwang is one of the most famous Chinese-American playwrights who became famous during the cultural wars. The play was to have subtitles because some of the actors would be speaking in Mandarin, but some of them as, Timms explains, hardly speak any. Some of the students weren’t sure what to expect. Aqilah Elshabazz Palmer, a member of the program, explained that the honors program is interdisciplinary, “We view how love and friendship are to us, and then talk about different views and how it applies to other people.”

Indeed, human interactions were a large part of the performance. As Timms explained during the prologue, “What’s interesting about this show in particular is that David doesn’t speak Mandarin, so he actually wrote this script in English and hired a Hong-Kong playwright to translate some of the Chinese…it’s been a really interesting process for us because there are certain jokes; I mean, language in general is confusing because there are certain things we say in English that don’t really exist in Chinese culture…things don’t translate, and culture cross-over. We really don’t get each other, and yet we’re all human. We’re all in it together.”

The play itself covered all of those things Timms mentioned: Daniel Cavanaugh comes to China to make a “deal” with a small company, like his own in Cleveland. While he is there, he does learn about Chinese culture and the way one must go for lasting relationships for business. However, Daniel soon finds out that there is more to making a business transaction than a charismatic proposal and making close acquaintances. In his affair with Miss Qian, the Vice-Executive of the company Daniel initially tries to contract with, the audience finds that while both people experience love, they express and view it differently. In a frustrating conversation, Miss Qian tries to explain in English why Daniel cannot leave his family. That he is her “escape” from her “death marriage.” This different conception of romance causes a rift between the two, and the audience finds that a lot of her actions prove to help her marriage, and are for her family and not for herself. As the actors stated in the prologue, Hwang’s writing portrays women as strong characters who are intelligent and have more power than some men.

After the play, the students were taken to the honor’s penthouse for a discussion with their professors, and the Director of the Honor’s Program, Dr. Elizabeth Hayes. After watching the performance, the students were given a chance to be asked what Dr. Liu calls the “what do you think” question. She explains that she was more interested in what the students thought so that they could talk and digest what they had seen. The students brought up many interesting ideas about the frame story, the effects that theatre produced, and the idea of language and communication. Throughout the play, Daniel wanted to fix poorly translated signs in English into something that was understandable. As one of the students pointed out, while the translations were hilarious (one read, “the grass is sleeping. Please don’t disturb it” easily rendered as “keep off the grass), they also gave insight into the culture and mindset of eastern ideals.

Chinglish is staying at the Syracuse Stage until Sunday, March 16. It is sexy, funny, heart-wrenching, deep, and possibly most of all, didactic. Throughout Chinglish, one will be trying to find the difference between the experiences and understandings all of humanity shares, and at the same time recognize and respond positively to those differences which make up a diverse world.

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