ASCC Language & Literature Dept. to host Literary Night

The Language & Literature Department at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will host its annual Literary Night this coming Thursday, April 20, at 6 p.m. in the College’s Lecture Hall.

This free event is open to anyone who enjoys seeing the many forms of classic and contemporary literature interpreted through the medium of live performance by ASCC students. The evening of diverse expression will include poetry, dramatic monologue, original speech, song and video production.

“Our theme this year is ‘Unity Through Literature,’ a theme we’ve chosen in response to much of the contention and division that we see happening off-island,” said Language & Literature chairperson Mrs. Melelina Fiaui. 

“A lot of the news lately covers political and racial intolerance, and we wanted to focus on how people are more alike than different. Regardless of our backgrounds, our income, beliefs, cultures, etc. most people share common values and hopes. We see this in literature and in music and that is why the spoken and written word resonates so deeply with people — they read something, or hear a song and think, ‘Yes, I know exactly what that person is talking about! I’ve felt that way too’,” she said.

As with most ASCC events involving students, the Literary Night has its own strong learning component. “This event fulfills the department mission of our students having the opportunity to examine cultures, issues and themes in multiple genres and demonstrate critical thinking through literary analysis,” said Fiaui.

“In order to perform a published piece, students need to find a thematically applicable piece, and also look critically at the tone, word choice, character, setting, and figurative language, and ultimately decide what the piece means to them. This night provides a way for students to see and experience literature in a different light. Instead of reading something on a page, they are performing it, which allows students to apply their unique interpretation to literature,” she explained.

The Languages & Literature chairperson noted that the evening’s theme aligns with the concerns of a poem by New Zealand-based Samoan writer and educator Selina Tusitala Marsh titled “Unity,” which Marsh performed this year in England to an audience that included Queen Elizabeth.

“For this year’s Literary Night, students had to specifically select pieces that spoke to unity; pieces that promoted tolerance, acceptance, and compassion,” said Fiaui. “They then went through an audition process for department faculty and we chose the most appropriate performers for each category. We will also have the cast from the Fine Arts Department’s ‘In the Heights’ perform a few musical numbers from the forthcoming play. “

The Literary Night chairs this year are Mrs. Jocelyn Siologa and Mr. Ben Goodwin, and Mrs. Fiaui will serve as the evening’s emcee.

For more information on the ASCC Literary Night, contact the Language & Literature Department by calling 699-9155 and asking for extension 320.

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