Scene and Heard

Hello Friends of Hartford Stage,

"Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou Art Translated!"

I’ve always loved this sentence from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the many meanings in its use of “translated” to describe the character of Bottom with an ass’s head. The description articulates how translation is a changing of something, a transformation of the original’s essence. In Italian there’s a saying, "Traduttore, Traditore,” roughly translated to “Translating is Betraying.”

I’ve translated all my life, having been raised in a bilingual environment, and have seen firsthand how dangerous a mistranslation can be, how close to a betrayal the wrong choice of words can become. At the same time, my life and career have been immeasurably enriched by the successful communication across cultures.

This last week I have been deep in rehearsals with Red Bull Theatre Company’s Zoom reading of The Courage to Right A Woman’s Wrong (its Spanish title is Valor, Agravio y Mujer). It is a new translation of a play from the Spanish Golden Age, an epoch of theatre writing that in breadth and depth much resembles Elizabethan England, but is far less known in our country, where everyone can point to Shakespeare’s plays and know them to be “classics.”

How can we expand our definition of a “classic” work? As we continue to struggle across differences within our own country, the stories we choose to tell in our theatres can help “translate” us to each other as plays require us to listen with care and attention to the voices of the “other”.

This week on Scene and Heard: LIVE!, we’ll delve into what it means to “diversify” the cannon: what do we mean by a “classic” and what are the very real challenges of translation across culture and language. I’ll be joined by two guests with ample experience in international theatre and translation, Maria Delgado (Central School, London) and Barbara Fuchs (UCLA).

And consider joining me on Monday for The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrong by registering for the free reading at the link below.

¡Espero verte este miércoles! (I hope to see you this Wednesday!)



Johanna Day and Lucas Caleb Rooney in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hartford Stage, 2008).

Alene Dawson and Damian Young in Sueño, an adaptation of Calderon's La Vida es Sueño (Hartford Stage, 1998).

Barbara Fuchs is Professor of Spanish and English at UCLA. She is the founder and director of the Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance and its Diversifying the Classics initiative.

Maria Delgado is an academic, curator, and critic, and Professor and Director of Research at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

The Courage to Right a Woman's Wrongs

Share with a Friend  |  View in browser

Hartford Stage does not share personal data with anyone outside of our organization. If you would like to change your email preferences or unsubscribe, Click here. Please note that if you unsubscribe, you will no longer receive ANY email correspondence from Hartford Stage.

Hartford Stage 50 Church Street Hartford, CT 0610