Staging Spanish Theater in Translation: A Roundtable with José Manuel Mora
This roundtable reflects on the process of staging a translation of José Manuel Mora’s award-winning play, “The Nocturnal Swimmers.”
Translating for the stage is one of the most challenging tasks for the translator. “What’s at stake in all theatrical translation is the life of the text,” said Argentinian playwright and translator Rafael Spregelburd. The text has to convey both the meaning of the original and the complexities of the world devised for a particular theatrical audience.
This roundtable discusses issues of translating theater, the solutions that open up when rehearsing the translated text, and the temptation to rewrite. Panelists will discuss the process of staging a translation of José Manuel Mora’s play, The Nocturnal Swimmers. Mora was the first recipient of the Spanish playwright-in-residence at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a new initiative by the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. to promote Spanish playwrights and theater in the United States. As part of his residency, he led a workshop with students and the translator.
- José Manuel Mora is playwright and director of the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Castilla y León. Some of his recent works with Draft.Inn, the company he co-founded, are Esta no es La casa de Bernarda AlbaEsta no es La casa de Bernarda Alba (This Is Not The House of Bernarda Alba), and El último rinoceronte blanco (The Last White Rhinoceros). Currently, he is playwright-in-residence at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- Elena Igartuburu is translator of Mora’s Los nadadores nocturnos (The Night Swimmers). Her translation of Lamp Lady, by Catalan playwright Marta Aran is forthcoming in 2019. She is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- David Rodríguez-Solás is Assistant Professor of Spanish at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of Teatros nacionales republicanos: la Segunda República y el teatro clásico español (Iberoamericana/ Vervuert). His research focuses on modern and contemporary Spanish and Catalan theatre, cultural memory, and visual and performance studies.