Tiny Texas town hears reading of Rainis’ ‘Golden Horse’

A translation of Rainis’ play The Golden Horse was read in the tiny, off-beat West Texas border town of Marfa in Presidio County this weekend, its author Vilis Inde posted on the project’s Facebook page Monday. Latvians from various locations around North America traveled there to take part in the event entitled 'Rainis in the Desert'.

The unique event in the odd locale in the middle of the far-flung wilds, which even boasts its own "vibrant" public radio station” KRTS, showed how far the 150th birthyear anniversary of Latvia’s founding poet-politician-philosopher could stretch, as the Big Bend Now local online joint news portal for West Texas acknowledged the distant Baltic nation’s “greatest cultural figure” in the lead-up to it. KRTS will broadcast an interview with event organizers Inde and Sarma Liepiņa Tuesday, March 31 at 18:30 Central time.

The experimental weekend lecture and dramatic role-play reading by local thespians in this obsessively creative high-desert border town was the brainchild of Rainis scholar and translator Inde. Marfa is located three hours by car from the nearest airport in El Paso, an eight-hour road trip from Houston, the Presidio County seat still less than eight-thousand residents strong, but experiencing a sudden recent wave of upscale gentrification from distant metropolises. Seemingly suited for civilized exiles like Latvia’s founding socially-and-democratically inclined literary couple.

As part of the weekend, rare Rainis monographs and other Latvian memorabilia were on display at Marfa Book Company.

Rainis in Marfa: Makslas Izstade un Raina Izstade.Kalmite / A Annus & Kalmite / gramatu u.t.t. izstade

Posted by Zelta zirgs - The Golden Horse by Rainis Translation by Vilis Inde on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Also there on Saturday, the Rainis scholar and translator presented his talk “One Man Impacts an Era and a Nation” about the ideology and turbulent lives of Rainis and his wife and muse, the poet Aspazija.

 

Rare photos of Rainis and Aspazija in 1906 - exiled in Castagnola. Rainins' new alias - Arturs Naglins

Posted by Zelta zirgs - The Golden Horse by Rainis Translation by Vilis Inde on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“Rainis’s vision was that Latvians had to put aside political differences to achieve independence for the first time. The message is both specific to Latvia and universal for all peoples,” Inde told Big Bend Now. Inde is a dual citizen whose Latvian parents immigrated to the US in the early 1950s from World War II displaced persons camps in Germany. Latvian is his first language. He adds, “I was held back a year for kindergarten in Minneapolis because I read the test flashcards in Latvian.”

After the talk, local community talent read from three scenes of Rainis’s 1909 play, The Golden Horse (Zelta Zirgs), which Inde translated in 2012. The play is an allegory of Rainis’s political and social views for independence.

The Golden Horse concerns Antins, a poor and good young man. In the first scene, he is thrown upon his own resources when his father (Lonn Taylor) dies and his brothers rob him of his rightful share.

Antins is obsessed with the princess, who has slept for seven years—one each for Latvia’s seven centuries of oppression by Sweden, Germany and Russia—in a glass coffin on top of the glass mountain. A poor man (Harry Hudson) who is more than he seems stops at the house of the three brothers and Antins joins him on his travels to the castle to witness the waking of the princess.

The poor man tells Antins the qualities required for the man who would succeed in awakening the princess and provides him with with a chant that ultimately brings the golden horse that will climb the mountain.

As Inde posted on his Facebook page “Rainis in Marfa - was a success. Great turnout at the Marfa Book Co on Saturday. Fifteen locals read 3 scenes from the play. It was fantastic to hear the personalities & no longer just have/hear it in my head. Great job all & thanks to the Marfa Book Co. and ALL participants. PALDIES !”

 

Rainis in Marfa - was a success. Great turnout at the Marfa Book Co on Saturday. Fifteen locals read 3 scenes from the...

Posted by Zelta zirgs - The Golden Horse by Rainis Translation by Vilis Inde on Monday, March 30, 2015

 

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