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Olivia Stransky

Olivia Stransky

Accounts Rendered: A Screenplay Adaptation of Milan Kundera’s “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”

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Olivia refers me to words from subsection 18 in The Angels from The Book of Laughter and Forgetting as a fit companion for this image and a sound clip from a song called “Toxica” proposed by Olivia as part of the soundtrack to her screenplay:

“Stereotyped harmonies, banal melodies, and rhythms all the more insistent the more monotonous they are – that is what remains of music; that is music’s eternity. Everyone can fraternize by means of these simple combinations of tones, for it is being itself that through them is shouting its jubilant “I’m here!” There is no more boisterous, no more unanimous agreement than the agreement with being.”

“Kundera’s work explores the difference between how we present ourselves and how we really are,” Olivia tells me. “In a book, it’s easy to go into someone’s interior. It’s harder in a screenplay. You can only show what you show.”

Olivia’s screenplay “deals with the political events of the country formerly called the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic from the early nineteen-sixties to the late nineteen-seventies and, more specifically, with the process of creating, changing, and forgetting history that accompanied this time period. In seven separate segments, different characters are confronted both by the political world and by their own personal issues of love, miscommunication, and memory. There is also a brief discussion of the role of music in the screenplay and a suggested soundtrack that serves the purpose of reinforcing themes which enhance the narratives.”

Olivia, recipient of a 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholarship, will spend the next year in the Slovak Republic where she will teach English to B.A. and M.A. students at Comenius University Bratislava. Her senior thesis, a personal as well as an intellectual journey, is only the beginning of her work in higher learning.