Gardner-Webb’s Jim Lawrence Presents Video Version of “The Tell-Tale Heart”

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Poe’s Classic Short Story Filmed in English and Gaelic Translations

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Dr. Jim Lawrence, professor in the Department of Communications Studies at Gardner-Webb University, has produced a unique Scottish-Gaelic short film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s classic American literature “An Cridhe Cabaireach” (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), a story of madness and murder.  The DVD has just been released and is available for purchase in three versions: Gaelic narration only, Gaelic narration with English subtitles, and English narration with Gaelic subtitles.

“I first became acquainted with Scottish-Gaelic through music,” said Lawrence.  “At some point I decided I would like to try and learn the language so I could pronounce the words correctly.  About four years ago I began taking a class online from the Atlantic Gaelic Academy via Skype.  Though I have officially studied for four years now, I find the language very difficult, especially to speak.”

Two years ago, Lawrence got the idea of trying to translate an English story into Gaelic and settled on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  Lawrence said, “I had always liked it, and it seemed short enough to manage.  I felt it would make for an effective video.  It took me a number of months to translate into a kind of primitive Gaelic.”

Then came the task of involving a narrator in the production who actually spoke Gaelic.  “Coincidentally, my Skype instructor was a man named Angus MacLeod who lived in Nova Scotia.  Angus was not only a Gaelic teacher, but he was also an actor.  I send him a copy of the translation and he responded enthusiastically to it,” said Lawrence.  From there, the project was up and running.

The video, shot this past April, was directed by Lawrence and stars MacLeod, along with GWU professor of journalism, Dr. Joseph Webb, and Matthew Hand, a recent GWU graduate and freelance photographer.  Webb not only appears in the video, but he also recorded the English language narration.

“I am absolutely honored to be a part of Dr. Lawrence’s remarkably conceived short film,” said Webb.  “He [Lawrence] invested countless hours and a considerable amount of money in its development and production.  It is wonderfully and chillfully executed, one might say.”

As the original Gaelic audio version was being completed, Webb had an idea.  “I discovered that my friends, non-Gaelic speakers, could easily miss the full brunt of the story reading it from only English subtitles, so I suggested that Dr. Lawrence append a second version, this one in English with Gaelic subtitles,” said Webb.

So far, the film has been entered in several film festivals and could be showing in numerous countries around the world in the near future.  “Its creativity and sheer audience appeal could well win accolades for Dr. Lawrence,” said Webb.

Lawrence added: “My purpose in producing this DVD was to make something that was creative and entertaining, while providing a valuable teaching/learning tool for anyone interested in the Gaelic language.  I see this as my contribution to providing a resource that will help keep Scottish-Gaelic alive.”

The DVD is available online through amazon.com and createspace.com, as well as the Gardner-Webb Campus Book Store.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for career success and for engaged, responsible citizenship in their professional, civic, and spiritual communities.