Jonker Pyt en Sibbel
Jonker Pyt en Sibbel is a play by the Frisian writer and poet Eeltsje Hiddes Halbertsma (1797 - 1858). It was first published in 1822, as part of Gabe Skroar’s short story and poetry collection De Lapekoer. The play was later set to music and became a folk song, which was included in the Frysk Lieteboek in 1930.
The play tells the tale of an English girl named Sibbel, who encounters the son of a nobleman named Jonker, while taking a stroll along a back alley. Jonker has just returned from France, where he has learned “French manners” which he wishes to put into practice in Fryslan.
He therefore attempts to woo Sibbel with the sonorities of the French language, strongly urging her to make love to him. Sibbel wants no part of this, as she is already in love with a Frisian man-servant named Rommert. She rejects his advances and denies his desires for a left-handed-marriage.
This play was written during a period when the Frisian language was being explored as a vernacular capable of producing literature. Sibbel’s immunity to the seductive powers of the French language are politicized by her steadfast allegiance to her local love of lower social standing, despite the obvious benefits of marrying into aristocracy.
We took to this idea of returning with a new language. By carrying out an intuitive translation of the word-sounds, guessed meaning, or even the content of the texts we wrote ourselves, we played with the various forms our source could produce while sticking to the original rhyme scheme. This time Frisian-English allegiances explore the memetic capacity of warping an inherited form.
Our script generator selects verses at random and assembles them together in a linear fashion. This scrambles the communicative efficacy of the original play even further, while exploring the possibility of sensible narrative across an exhaustive set of cut-up permutations.
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