Tags

, , ,

Beate Jones has recently translated into German Campbell Smith’s play about the Waikato artist Margot Philips, This Green Land.

Campbell Smith and Margot Philips

We’re pleased that Beate and Campbell have agreed to share this with our readers, as this is the first appearance of the German translation anywhere. Here we bring you Scene 2, in which a young Margo meets a New Zealand soldier in Cologne for the first time.

The scene is in the original English and then is followed by Beate Jones’s German translation. At the end readers can enjoy biographical notes on Margot Phillips and Campbell Smith, as well as the translator Beate Jones.

from Cambpell Smith’s This Green Land

Scene 2: ENCOUNTER WITH A NEW ZEALAND SOLDIER

MARGOT: There were other soldiers. The Army of Occupation. Talked to one once. An “Anzac”, I

think? Different, from the British.

SOLDIER WEARING N.Z. ARMY COAT AND HAT STANDS IN SHADOW.

N.Z. SOLDIER: (TO AUDIENCE) Well, ‘ere we are. Bloody well stuck ‘ere in Germany! I should’ve been

half-way home, by now, instead we copped this, bloody lot. The Aucklanders, trust our luck, eh?

Stuck ‘ere on the banks of the Rhine, ‘ere in Cologne. S’truth there’s a bloody big river for ya, eh?

Use’ta go down to me cousin at Mercer. (WAVES TOWARDS RIVER) Well, this ‘ere Rhine’s five times

the size as the Waikato, eh? Aw, she’s a big bugger, eh? Some river, all right. S’truth, eh. Any rate,

‘ere we are. Just hangin’ round. Waitin’, eh. Yeah. (MOVES ABOUT) And the women? The sheilas? German! Oorh! Not “friendly”! You know? Not like those French tarts. Bit of all right there.

(CHUCKLES) Ye-ah, eh? No way! Well, we’re the enemy, I suppose. (SHRUGS) Still some of me

mates say – you know. Play it right! Ya can strike it, eh. (PATS HIS POCKETS) Half starved they are.

Do anything me reckon. For a bit of something. (SIGHS) Me? Never had much luck, that way. Still

never know, eh? (SHRUGS SHOULDERS)

MARGOT ENTERS WALKING.

MARGOT: One night on my way home, a soldier, he spoke to me. (GIGGLES) Me? Little Margot?

N.Z. SOLDIER: (VERY FLAT N.Z. SOUND) Gid-day, Fraulein.

MARGOT: Ooh. Me? Oh, Hullo…Soldier.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Ya, all right, eh?

MARGOT: Yes, I am well. Thank you very much.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Where ya from, Fraulein?

MARGOT: Orh, here. I live here.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Here, in this place? Orh. Cologne, eh?

MARGOT: (NODS SHYLY) Ja, Köln. You are from where, Soldier?

N.Z. SOLDIER: Me? Orrh, (CHUCKLES) Puke-ko-he, eh?

MARGOT: Puuukee-koo-ee, aa? Where would that be?

N.Z. SOLDIER: Orrh. Other end of the world, back of beyond, I guess.

MARGOT: You are a long way from home, Soldier?

N.Z. SOLDIER: Yeah. Not like you, eh, Fraulein. Like to go for a bit of a walk, eh? (OFFERS HIS ARM)

MARGOT: Orh, yes, that would be nice. Where to?

N.Z. SOLDIER: Anywhere eh? Down by the river. Nice night for it. I’ve got cigarettes.

MARGOT: (RECONSIDERS) Oh. Don’t think I’d better. Not down there… Thank you, Soldier, all the

same.

N.Z. SOLDIER: (RESIGNED) Narh, it’s all right, Fraulein. Not if ya don’t want to, eh. (MOVE INTO THE

LIGHT) Yah not very old, eh?

MARGOT: Yes, I am about eighteen!

N.Z. SOLDIER: Orh, are ya. Eighteen, eh. Me sister at home. She be about that age now. I reckon. Yeah. Haven’t seen her for, orh…Just on three years now. Yeah, must be! Yeah, three years.

MARGOT: That is a long time, Soldier. To be away from your home.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Yeah, ’tis. Isn’t it. Bloody long time!

BOTH ARE SILENT, REFLECTING ON THE WAR.

Would you like some chocolate?

OFFERS CHOCOLATE TO MARGOT, SHE BREAKS OFF A PIECE, EATS IT, SOLDIER DOES THE SAME. THEY EAT IN SILENCE, MARGOT ALMOST IN ECSTASY AT THE TASTE OF CHOCOLATE.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Pretty good, eh?

MARGOT: Oooh! Haven’t tasted chocolate for years and years.

SOLDIER HANDS CHOCOLATE BAR TO MARGOT. SHE REFUSES.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Nah, nah. Go on. Keep it, eh.

MARGOT: Oh, thank you, Soldier. But I cannot stay.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Yeah, that’s OK, Fraulein.

MARGOT OFFERS HER HAND, THEY SHAKE HANDS.

MARGOT: Been nice talking to you, Soldier.

N.Z. SOLDIER: Yeah, it has. Hasn’t it. Good bye. (EXITS)

MARGOT: (WATCHES HIM, CRIES OUT) Oh, Soldier? That place, what country? (REALIZING HE HAS GONE, SPEAKS QUIETLY) Are you from. (LOOKS AT CHOCOLATE. THE TEMPTATION IS TOO GREAT, TAKES IT OUT AND BREAKS OFF A TINY PIECE, EATS IT, SPEAKS TO AUDIENCE) Never told Mother. Little Margot Philips. A good German girl talking to a soldier from the other side of the world. But oh, that chocolate.

Zweite Szene:  BEGEGNUNG MIT EINEM NEUSEELÄNDISCHEN SOLDATEN

MARGOT: Es gab auch andere Soldaten. Die Besatzungsarmee. Hab mal mit einem geredet. Ich      glaube mit einem “ANZAC”? War anders als die Briten.

EIN SOLDAT IN NEUSEELÄNDISCHEM ARMEEMANTEL  MIT NEUSEELÄNDISCHER MÜTZE STEHT IM SCHATTEN.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT : (ZUM PUBLIKUM) Tja, da sind wir. Sitzen verdammt noch mal fest in Deutschland! Sollt’n schon halbwegs zu Hause sein. Stattdessen sind wir hier gelandet, der ganze Haufen. Die Auckländer, mal wieder typisch für unser Dusel, was! Sitz’n fest am Rheinufer, hier in Köln. Heiliger Strohsack, was’n verdammt großer Fluss, was? Bin früher immer zu meinem  Kusäng nach Mercer gegangen (WINKT IN RICHTUNG FLUSS).Junge, Junge,  dieser Rhein hier iss fünfmal so groß wie der Waikato, was?

Ooooh ja, das is’n Riesentrumm, was? Was’n Fluss, Mann. Heiliger Strohsack! Jedenfalls sind wir jetzt hier. Lungern einfach herum und warten, was? Jaaah.(GEHT AUF UND AB). Und die Frauen? Die Weibsbilder?  Deutsch!  Och nee! Nicht “freundlich”! Ihr wisst schon! Nicht wie die französischen Flittchen. War schon gut da . (LACHT IN SICH HINEIN) Ja, ja, was? Hier nich’, auf keinen Fall! Tja, wir sind der Feind, denk ich mal. (ZUCKT MIT DEN ACHSELN).  Trotzdem – ein paar von meinen Kumpeln… Ihr wisst schon! Packs richtig an! Dann kannste Dusel haben, was.(KLOPFT AUF SEINE MANTELTASCHE). Die sind halbverhungert. Die machen alles, glauben die Kumpels… Für ‘n bisschen was zwischen die Zähne . (SEUFZT) Ich? Hab’ damit noch nie viel Dusel gehabt. Aber man kann ja nie wissen, was? (ZUCKT MIT DEN ACHSELN)

MARGOT KOMMT AUF DIE BÜHNE SPAZIERT

MARGOT: Einmal bei Nacht, auf dem Weg nach Hause, da hat mich ein Soldat angesprochen. (KICHERT). Mich? Die kleine Margot?

NEUSEELLÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: (Mit schwerem neuseeländischen Akzent) Gid-day’ Frollein.

MARGOT: Ooh, meinen Sie mich? Oh, Hallo, Soldat.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT:  Sind Se okay, was?

MARGOT: Ja, mir geht es gut, danke sehr.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT : Wo sind Se denn her, Frollein?

MARGOT: Ah, von hier. Ich wohne hier.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Hier? In dieser Stadt? Ah. Köln, was?

MARGOT: (NICKT SCHÜCHTERN MIT DEM KOPF) Ja, Köln. Wo sind Sie denn her, Soldat?

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Ich? Ah, (LACHT VOR SICH HIN) Puke-ko-he, was?

MARGOT: Puukeee-koo-hee, wa? Wo soll das denn sein?

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Ah, am anderen Ende der Welt, am Arsch der Welt, was.

MARGOT: Sie sind aber weit weg von zu Hause, Soldat?

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Jaaa, nicht wie Sie, was, Frollein. Möcht’n Se nen kleinen Spaziergang mit mir machen, was? (ER BIETET IHR SEINEN ARM AN)

MARGOT: Ah, ja, das wäre schön, wohin denn?

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Egal, was? Runter zum Fluss. S’iss ne schöne Nacht dafür. Ich hab Zigaretten.

MARGOT: (ZÖGERT) Oh, besser nicht. Dahin lieber nicht…Trotzdem, Danke, Soldat.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: (RESIGNIERT) Nö, schon gut, Frollein. Nich wenn Se nich woll’n, was. (GEHT MIT IHR UNTER DAS STRASSENLICHT). Sie sind wohl noch nich sehr alt, was?

MARGOT: Doch, ich bin schon um die achtzehn!

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: So, so, achtzehn, was? Meine Schwester zu Hause, die iss jetzt ungefähr auch so alt, glaub ich. Ja,ja. Ich hab se schon seit, ah, grade drei Jahren nicht mehr gesehen. Ja, muss wohl so an die drei Jahre sein.

MARGOT: Das ist eine lange Zeit, Soldat. Eine lange Zeit, die Sie nicht zu Hause gewesen sind.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Ja, das isses, eine verdammt lange Zeit!

BEIDE DENKEN SCHWEIGEND ÜBER DEN KRIEG NACH:

Möcht’n Se was Schokolade?

BIETET MARGOT SCHOKOLADE AN. SIE BRICHT EIN STÜCK AB, ISST ES. DER SOLDAT EBENFALLS: SIE ESSEN SCHWEIGEND, MARGOT GENIESST DIE SCHOKOLADE FAST EKSTATISCH.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Schmeckt gut, was?

MARGOT: Ach, ich habe schon seit Jahren keine Schokolade mehr gegessen

DER SOLDAT GIBT MARGOT DIE TAFEL SCHOKOLADE. SIE WILL SIE NICHT ANNEHMEN.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Nö, nö. Komm’n Se schon, Behalt’n Se’s,was.

MARGOT: Oh danke, Soldat, aber ich kann nicht bleiben.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT:  Das iss schon in Ordnung, Frollein.

MARGOT STRECKT IHM IHRE HAND HIN. SIE SCHÜTTELN HÄNDE.

MARGOT: Hat mich gefreut, Soldat.

NEUSEELÄNDISCHER SOLDAT: Ja, mich schon auch. Auf Wiederseh’n.(GEHT AB)

DER SOLDAT GEHT VON DER BÜHNE. MARGOT SIEHT IHM NACH.

MARGOT: (SIEHT IHM NACH, SCHREIT) Oh, Soldat? Dieser Ort, in welchem Land ist er? (ERKENNT, DASS ER WEG IST, SPRICHT LEISE ZU SICH SELBST) Woher sind Sie? (SIEHT AUF DIE TAFEL SCHOKOLADE, DIE VERSUCHUNG IST ZU GROSS, SIE NIMMT SIE AUS DER VERPACKUNG UND BRICHT EIN WINZIGES STÜCK AB, ISST ES. SPRICHT ZUM PUBLIKUM). Hab  meiner Mutter nie davon erzählt. Die kleine Margot Philips. Ein braves deutsches Mädchen spricht mit einem Soldaten vom anderen Ende der Welt. Aber ach, diese Schokolade!

ENDE DER SZENE

***

We thank Beate Jones for including the following about Margot Philips and Campbell Smith:

Margot Leonie Louisa Philips was born on 5 April 1902 in Duisburg-Ruhrort, Germany. She was the youngest of five children born to Selma and Julius Philips. Margot’s father was a grain merchant who could provide a comfortable living for his family and who had a strong sense of their Jewish background but a liberal outlook.

World War I brought about the collapse of the business and when Margot’s father died their comfortable lifestyle came to an end. Margot subsequently trained as a shorthand typist and found employment from 1929 to 1934 with a chain of department stores but eventually lost her job because she was Jewish.

In 1935 Margot left Germany and found temporary refuge and work in England. From there she helped organize her brother Kurt’s emigration, along with his wife, to New Zealand, where they settled in Hamilton and from where they sponsored Margot’s emigration.

After her arrival in her new home country, Margot worked as a waitress in her brother’s coffeehouse in Hamilton, “The Vienna”, contributing a bit of European otherness to an otherwise rural and conservative environment.

When she was about 48 she took first tentative steps into the  world of visual arts. Her attempts at drawing failed but she persevered and finally developed, with the help of her Auckland-based tutor Colin McCahon, her own unique style of painting her favourite and almost exclusive subject: the Waikato landscape.

Margot Philips had a few exhibitions and in 1987 her contribution to art in the Waikato was honoured with an exhibition entitled “Margot Philips – Her Own World” to mark the opening of the new Waikato Museum of Arts and History.

In December 1988 Margot Philips passed away at the Trevellyn Rest Home for the Aged where she had spent her last few years.

Summary of Margot Philip’s biography based on Margaret Sutherland, ‘Margot Philips’ in James N. Beade (ed),  Out of the Shadow of War. The German Connection with New Zealand in the Twentieth Century (Auckland, 1998). pp 123 -127

*

Campbell Smith was born in Masterton in 1925. After an apprenticeship as a signwriter, he studied painting at the Canterbury School of Art before becoming  a teacher and spending two years in London where he earned  a living as a supply teacher. In 1956 he returned to New Zealand to work as a teacher at Waihi College. In the relative isolation of Waihi and still keenly interested in the Arts, Campbell took up wood engraving. In 1961 he moved to Hamilton, where he taught at Fairfield College while remaining heavily involved in the local art scene as the president of the Waikato Society of Arts. In 1971 Campbell became director of the Hamilton Art Gallery, then director of Fine Arts at the Waikato Museum. He held this position until his retirement in 1985.

Through his involvement with the Arts, Campbell Smith got to know Margot Philips quite well but the idea to write a play about her came to him after he met Jorge Alvarez, the ambassador of Mexico in New Zealand, at an exhibition opening in 2001. Alvarez had fallen in love with Margot Philips’s paintings and even purchased one to take back to his home country. Campbell, who had written more than twenty plays, decided to retell Margot’s story of loss and re-creation in his play originally titled “Waikato-Green” but later re-named “This Green Land”.

***

Beate Jones, a Bavarian by birth, lived  for seven years in Munich, where she studied English and French at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, before following her New Zealand husband-to-be to Hamilton, New Zealand.  She has been living in Hamilton ever since. While her first impression of Hamilton, after having lived in Munich, was not entirely positive, the city and its people, like the river Waikato, have wormed their way into her heart and these days she feels very protective of her elected home, which she feels offers some of the best possible compromises of living a city life in an almost rural way.

Beate has been teaching German for more than 20 years at the University of Waikato. She is currently enrolled in a PhD in Literary Translation at Victoria University in Wellington. Writing poetry, short stories and the translation from German to English of a range of texts have been an interesting and challenging  sideline to her work.