: theatre translator mentorship

archives

from page to stage

Since launching our theatre translator mentorship in 2016, we’ve worked with nine translators working from a wide range of languages including Swedish, Hungarian and Japanese.

Together we’ve explored plays from around the globe and showcased these to new audiences. It’s been a wonderful journey and we can’t wait to see where future editions will take us!

previous editions

where i call home

by Marc-Antoine Cyr
translated by Charis Ainslie

Where I Call Home is a play about racism, identity and what it is to be French (or British, with a few changes). School teacher Kevin has never had such a “colourful” class, so he’s come up with the idea of “The Big Project” – getting to know each other. His partner, a police officer, is holding a suspect – a minor, who claims he hasn’t done anything. He just wants to go home to his mum, to a place where his identity is not in question. But he’s growing fur, his teeth are becoming pointed … and the wolves are calling him …

Original title: Gens du pays
Language: French

man alive

by Franz Xaver Kroetz
translated by Iwona Luszowicz

This play concerns mini-tragedies: a man unable to ask his boss for his favourite pen back; a woman standing at the supermarket checkout without enough money; a son telling his father he’d rather be dead than turn out like him. Through the small events of everyday life, Xaver Kroetz creates an exploration of human purpose, and the balance between living for others and living for ourselves.

Original title: Mensch Meier
Language: German

asian souvenir

by Martha Márquez
translated by Santiago Godoy Giraldo

The play explores the theme of migration; it’s a collection of stories of people from all around the world who are war victims, asylum seekers or have left their homelands in search of a better life. The play takes place is a series of containers at the port of a fictional city in which, on arrival, an unspecified newcomer becomes the witness of each one of these stories. Based on real events, Asian Souvenir offers a closer look at the particular situation of the human beings involved in this global and immensely relevant subject.

Original title: Souvenir Asiático
Language: Spanish

the night of ten people

by Gu Le
translated by Lani Calvert

The play is set in a large Asian city, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo or Seoul. It is never specified which city it is portraying. The play tells the story of a magician who works in a nightclub. On his nightly walk home, he passes many different members of society; a vegetable seller, a beggar, a hopeless writer. Their stories become part of his dreams, and his dreams become entangled with reality. The play displays Chinese culture in a creative way and the dialogue provides a realistic representation of Chinese life. Gu Lei told critics that the characters in the play are based on people he has encountered in real life, and that they are each supposed to represent a stereotype present in society.

Original title: 十个人的夜晚
Language: Mandarin Chinese

tenshu-tale

by Izumi Kyoka
translated by Nozomi Abe

Tenshu Tale is a Japanese play published in 1917 by 泉鏡花 Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939), a playwright who has been described as the ‘Japanese Edgar Allan Poe’ or the ‘father of Gothic tales’. It is set on the top floor of Himeji castle where there is believed to be an entrance to ‘the other world’. Tomi-Hime, the monster princess who reigns this strange world, falls in love with a human falconer, however, what they have in front of them is nothing but obstacles.

Original title: 天守物語
Language: Japanese

famine

by Marie Kajava
translated by Liisa Muinonen-Martin

Famine explores hunger as a form of suffering prevalent in both developing and developed nations. Famine was staged by Helsinki’s Teatteri Takomo and is due to be translated into Swedish and adapted into a radio play for the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. In its review, Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat wrote: ‘The questions the play raises may not be new, but playwright Marie Kajava’s multi-faceted and strictly ascetic approach makes it into a powerful viewing experience’. A critic for Hufvudstadsbladet, the Swedish-language daily, noted: ‘Marie Kajava’s masterful play exposes the West’s inability to tackle crises that don’t affect it directly’.

Original title: Nälänhätä
Language: Finnish

the unburied. the saint of darkness

by András Visky
translated by Jozefina Komporaly

Mother Theresa is the central figure of Visky’s The Unburied. The Saint of Darkness, an allegory of her life that draws parallels between her sense of vocation and Antigone’s sense of duty to bury her brother. The play connects the two figures through their need to bury the dead, but also to care for the genuinely needy ‘sea of unburied bodies’.

Original title: Temetetlenek. A sötétség szentje
Language: Hungarian

to damascus

by August Strindberg
translated by Siân Mackie

Strindberg’s To Damascus documents the Stranger’s circular journey to the brink of despair and back, as he moves from disillusionment, loneliness and nihilism to a position where he attempts to look towards the light and accept the kindness of those around him.

Original title: Till Damaskus
Language: Swedish

unterstadt – the story of an osijek family

based on a novel by Ivana Šojat, adapted for the stage by Zlatko Sviben
translated by Valentina Marconi

Guided by an old family friend following the death of her estranged mother, Ivana Šojat’s Unterstadt sees Katarina embark on a journey through her family’s history. Family ghosts from her recent and remote past reveal their destinies shedding light on her own origin as a member of the German national minority in Croatia. This story of four generations of women living through the 20th century addresses civil rights, cultural identity and collective guilt.

Original title: Unterstadt – roman jedne osječke obitelji
Language: Croatian