Out of the Wings

Archive for the ‘Project News’ Category

Out of the Wings Dragons’ Den Competition

4 February 2011

Out of the Wings wishes to offer the opportunity to compete for up to £10,000 to produce a play from our database of translated plays from Spain and Spanish America.

These plays are located at www.outofthewings.org.

We invite applications from students on postgraduate programmes on theatre and directing.

The adjudication process will take the form of a ‘Dragons’ Den’ type event in London, where applicants will present their plan for the production.

The format and rules for the competition are as follows:

  1. The event you are proposing must involve a live audience at a venue selected by you. You will be responsible for all aspects of the production, including ensuring that your chosen venue is available.
  2. The production must take place before 30 November 2011
  3. The competition is open to teams of students currently enrolled in a postgraduate theatre programme.
  4. Each team will be encouraged to attend a training session before the Dragons’ Den itself. This session is designed to help you with your business planning and presentation skills. This event will take place at King’s College London on the week beginning 28 February.
  5. Each team / entrant will submit an outline of the event (maximum 500 words) and a business plan (maximum 10 pages). This must include written confirmation from your venue. Your outline and business plan should be submitted to Out of the Wings at info@outofthewings.org. Hard copies may be sent to Professor Catherine Boyle, Out of the Wings, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS.
  6. The deadline for submission of applications is Friday 11 March 2011.
  7. The Out of the Wings Dragons’ Den event is scheduled to take place in London on the evening of Thursday 17 March. You will give a five-minute presentation and face questions arising from your outline and business plan. You are encouraged to invite friends and supporters to this event.
  8. The total prize fund for this competition is £10,000 and this will be awarded by the Dragons as they see fit.
  9. Dragons’ decision is final.

For more information, feel free to email us on info@outofthewings.org.

2010 Out of the Wings Symposium REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

12 January 2010

AHRC-funded project ‘Out of the Wings’ presents its

2010 Symposium

‘Spanish Golden Age Drama in Translation and Performance’

at Merton College, Oxford

18-19 March 2010


Registration and Accommodation, Catering OTW ’10

Translating and performing the works of Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina and Calderón de la Barca, and other playwrights of the Golden Age have sparked an increasing amount of interest, heightened by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2004-5 Golden Age season. Our Symposium will be attended by both academic and theatrical practitioners working within the field of Golden Age drama, and a wider base of attendees interested in Spanish theatre in general, as well as University colleagues and students. Speakers will be drawn from the United States and Europe, representing a variety of areas of expertise in translation and performance of the comedia. Please explore our website (www.outofthewings.org) for more information on the project, and see the rest of the blog for past events.

Translating for the Stage: Symposium generates energetic debate

11 February 2009

Janet Morris, Project Associate, Out of the Wings, writes:

We were delighted to meet such a wide range of theatre practitioners and researchers at our symposium in London on 6-7 February. Some 50 dramaturgs, translators, actors, directors, theatre and literary managers, researchers and publishers braved the wintry weather to join us.  With challenging ideas highlighted by the speakers, and active participation by the delegates, discussions focused on practical issues and the sharing of experiences in producing and performing translated plays.

Topics covered including commissioning translations; the translator in the theatre and the rehearsal room; managing the stages of translation; translating titles; translation and the problematic; and – at the heart of theatre practice – translation and the performable. The two-day event concluded with a rehearsed reading of Catherine Boyle’s English translation of Las brutas by Chilean playwright Juan Radrigán, directed by Sue Dunderdale.  The impressive performance, and the discussion which followed, brought together many of the issues that had been considered earlier.  But there is so much more to explore…

This symposium is our first in a series of events seeking to bring together the multi-faceted processes of translation for the stage.  Please keep checking this website for details of future activities.

Meanwhile if you have not yet joined our email list, you can do so via the Contribute link.  And you can always contact us by email on info@outofthewings.org

Out of the Wings at the AHGBI

22 January 2009

The Out of the Wings team will be presenting its work at the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland’s conference 6-8 April of this year, at Queen’s University, Belfast. Please look for our Out of the Wings panel on the ahgbi_programme_2009

We will be presenting on Wednesday, 8 April, from 11:30-1:30. 

The format of our panel is as follows:

Out of the Wings: Spanish and Spanish American Theatres in Translation 

Translating Golden Age plays for Modern Performance

Jonathan Thacker and Kathleen Jeffs

Translating for Performance

David Johnston and Gwynneth Dowling

 Translation and Models of Performance

Catherine Boyle and Gwendolen Mackeith

 Performance and edition: scholarly challenges in digitising Hispanic theatre materials

Paul Spence and John O’Neill

Translation in the Air: Translating for the Stage Symposium 6 –7 February

20 January 2009

We have now finalised the programme for our February symposium, aimed at theatre practitioners and researchers with an interest in the performance of translated plays.  We will be looking at translation as part of the collaborative process of stagecraft, focusing on practical solutions to practical problems. The timetable will ensure that participants have ample opportunity to raise issues and share their experiences.

Details of the full programme can be found here: london-symposium-programme-feb-09

Read on for more details… (more…)

Upcoming Plays from Spanish America

27 November 2008

Here is a selection of the plays from Spanish America which we are working on:

Los siameses, Siamese Twins (1967) by Griselda Gambaro

Poor thing! His face has changed. Now no one will get us confused.

At the centre of Los siameses are Lorenzo and Ignacio, twins who form the well-known archetypes of Cain and Abel. Lorenzo, having thrown a stone at a child on the street, is being chased by the child’s father. He bursts onstage through a door, slamming and locking it behind him. Ignacio is some paces behind and when he meets the shut door, he pleads to be let in because the child’s father is getting close and will mistake him for Lorenzo. While Lorenzo is safe inside, he cruelly refuses Ignacio’s desperate appeals to be let in. Worse still, he taunts his brother from behind the door. Ignacio eventually takes the beating meant for his brother and, when Ignacio is finally admitted to the room by Lorenzo, the sadism continues. At the end of Act One two monstrous police officers arrive at the house on the trail of the man who threw a stone at a child’s head and Lorenzo sets Ignacio up as the culprit. Ignacio is arrested by these officers, and taken away.

Lorenzo subjects his more successful and independent twin to cruelty and to torture, and finally brings about his incarceration and murder, assisting with the body’s burial in an unmarked grave. With black humour, Gambaro depicts humans who are complicit in atrocities which, although they are absurd, are also frighteningly real.

This is an early, yet startling brilliant, work written by the internationally acclaimed Argentine playwright, Griselda Gambaro. To our knowledge, it has not been performed before in English translation.

El día que me quieras, The Day You’ll Love Me
(1979) by José Ignacio Cabrujas

It was the 11th of June 1935 when Carlos Gardel arrived at this house and Elvira Ancízar divided her life into two stages or, better said, into two movements, and as simple as before and afterwards.

It’s 11 June 1935 and the legendary tango singer, Carlos Gardel, has come to give a concert in Caracas. This is just what some people have been waiting for. Living under a dictatorship there is dissent in the home of the family Ancízar; their house is dreamy, full of exotic and decorative objects which betray something of their romantic yearning for another way of life. María Luisa invests her hope in the first Communist state in Russia and is planning to follow her political ideals and her love of ten years, Pío Miranda, to Stalin’s Ukraine. For the other members of the family – María Luisa’s brother, sister and niece – it is not Communist Russia which represents hope, but the fact that Carlos Gardel is in town, and nothing is more wonderful than when he invites himself for dinner. Everyone behaves as if they are entertaining royalty, all except for Pío Miranda who is intent on dampening the excitement. He reminds Gardel, as well as the Ancízar family, that while Caracas is entranced by a tango star, there are innocent people being tortured and imprisoned by the regime. But does Pío Miranda really have the answers? In this Chekovian family drama, Cabrujas slices through history and offers us a view of this point in time which is fascinating to reinterpret now, over seven decades later.

Yo también hablo de la rosa, I, Too, Speak of the Rose (1965) by Emilio Carballido

Every day there is news. It takes all forms: a dream, a flash of lightening, explicit or trivial, it gets tangled in its own web, sowing its seeds.

It’s Mexico City in the 1960s and two teenagers, Toña and Polo, play truant from school and roam the streets in search of amusement. They tamper with a phone box, the fruits of which they use to gamble or spend on street food. These small pleasures compensate for a lack of privilege in life; they are poor and Polo doesn’t even have shoes. When they wander into a dump, they find a metal tub which Toña fancies as a plant pot but they soon discover the tub is filled with cement and begin to roll it along the ground until they roll it down the embankment and onto the railway tracks before an oncoming train.

A freight train is derailed and the play offers us a prismatic lens through which to interpret the event. No-one was hurt, but they could have been. Was it deliberate? To what extent should they be punished?

From this point the play is structured by reactions from all corners to the teenagers’ deed. I, Too, Speak of the Rose is a play about perception and the lenses through which we view our realities where it is possible that several converge in a single act. A newsreader asks the audience: What is a rose? Is it the whole rose, the rose petal, or the rose fibre under a microscope — which one is the real rose?

Contrapunto para dos voces cansadas, Counterpoint for Two Tired Voices
(1976) by Jorge Días

An old man and an old woman meet every Saturday. Neither is sure who is visiting whom, or where they really are, or why; there is no apparent social reality to which they belong, and they share the incipient fear that they may be repeating the same conversation time after time. Distant by virtue of their age and infirmities from the possibility of action, they use the only means available to them to create a past, and to inject their present with a sense of future.

I’m a visitor too. We’re both telling the truth. Why would we want to lie? So, either we’re both inside without realising it, or we both live outside, free, and we meet here every week to exchange apples, strawberries and words of encouragement.

In this poignant and enigmatic play there is a fearful, imaginative, desperate and, above all, necessary invention of a fantasy of life.

Upcoming plays from the Modern period

24 November 2008

This is a sampling of Gwynneth Dowling’s upcoming plays from the Modern period.

Hamelin by Juan Mayorga

In Hamelin a wealthy figure, Pablo Rivas, has been accused of sexually molesting a child from a deprived area. The parents of this child are suspected of ‘hiring out’ their son for money. Has Rivas acted on his confessed desires for children? Is Josemari, the child in question, telling the truth? Hamelin leaves the answers up to the audience. The investigating judge, Montero, gets no answer and neither do we. No Pied Piper saves the children in this city. The rats have multiplied, spewing forth at the end of the play from Josemari’s childish drawing as he sits alone –  betrayed, not rescued, by the system. Hamelin questions the ability of systems of law, psychiatry and bureaucracy to effectively help the weak and vulnerable in modern societies.

Tres sombreros de copa by Miguel Mihura

Three Top Hats is a surreal farce full of physical comedy and colour. It is the eve of Dionisio’s wedding and he is spending it alone in a little hotel. With him he has two top hats – he must decide which to wear to the wedding. His future father-in-law has given him a third as a wedding present. As he holds them, a young woman, Paula, bursts into his room. Paula is a member of a circus troupe that is in town. She sees Dionisio holding his top hats and mistakes him for a juggler. From this point on, Dionisio is caught up in a surreal evening of debauchery and madness in the hotel. Three Top Hats presents two different existences. On the one hand, Paula lives unconventionally in a world of parties and dances. On the other, Dionisio’s married life is set to be filled with routine. Yet both characters find their respective lifestyles monotonous. The play invites us to consider whether true happiness is ever achievable, or whether the grass just appears greener on the other side.

La llamada de Lauren by Paloma Pedrero

Lauren’s Call is a two-character play featuring a man and a woman, Pedro and Rosa. They are celebrating their third wedding anniversary on the same day as the carnival comes to town. It’s an ideal time to dress up! Pedro is dressed as a woman, Rosa as a man. Whereas Rosa is uncomfortable performing her role, Pedro enthusiastically adopts the guise of Lauren Bacall. Lauren’s Call is a play that explores gender identity as Pedro expresses his sense of unease at the male role assigned to him through his pleasure at becoming Lauren.

Himmelweg by Juan Mayorga

Himmelweg has been performed in promenade style at the Royal Court theatre and also has toured Ireland. The play is based on the experience of the Red Cross investigator, Maurice Rossel, who visited the concentration camp at Theresienstadt only to be duped by the model town that had been constructed to deceive visitors. In Himmelweg a Red Cross Representative tells the audience how he too was fooled – or let himself be fooled – by surface appearances and the seductive power of performance. Later, the audience witness how the performance was construed by the Nazi Commandant. As ‘theatre director’ he forces reluctant Jewish inmates to become his actors. Himmelweg is an important play by one of Spain’s most prominent contemporary playwrights that engages with current debates about the responsibility of individuals to speak out against political atrocities.

Written by Gwynneth Dowling

Upcoming plays from the Golden Age

24 November 2008

This is a quick preview of the plays I’m currently working on for the Golden Age area of the site. Stay tuned for translations and contextual material.

La fuerza de la costumbre by Guillén de Castro

We have chosen this play, ‘Force of Habit’, because it is relatively unknown, as is its author, in the canon of comedias which are produced with some regularity. Brother and sister, separated at birth, grow up apart-Felix is brought up by his mother to speak softly, fear thunder and stitch, while Hipólita grows up with her father in a war zone, learning to wield a sword. This play asks the question: Is gender learned or innate?

El condenado por desconfiado by Tirso de Molina

The protagonist of ‘Damned for Despair’, Paulo is a hermit who lives in a cave in the wilderness as a devoted ascetic. In a nightmare, his soul is condemned, and he is plagued by the question: Will he go to Heaven or to Hell? The devil takes the form of an angel in order to trick him, kicking off a journey of faith and despair. This play has been performed in the UK but merits a fresh look with a view to future performances.

El castigo sin venganza by Lope de Vega

‘Punishment without Revenge’ is the tragedy of a noble family, in which a devoted son falls in love unexpectedly with his father’s new bride. A tale of incest, honour and revenge, this play is one of Lope’s better-known tragedies.

El conde Partinuplés by Ana Caro

In ‘Count Partinuplés’ the heroine Rosaura, Empress of Constantinople, is forced to choose a husband in order to provide an heir to the empire. Her cousin Aldora, a skilled magician, introduces her to occult ways of choosing a prince, and she chooses the Count Partinuplés of France, who is already engaged. This epic, magical play is unique in that it was written by a woman and its fantastical elements make the play a rarely-produced gem.

Translation in the Air – Out of the Wings Symposium in February

13 November 2008

Translation in the Air – Translating for the Stage: Process and Performance 6 – 7 of February 2009

This symposium will bring together experts in the field to consider the challenges faced by both practitioners and translators. The emphasis is on practical solutions to practical problems, with performability as a key theme. There will be ample opportunity for participants to raise questions and share their experiences.

The event will take place at the Strand campus of King’s College London on the afternoon of Friday 6 February and at the Tristan Bates Theatre on Saturday 7 February 2009.
Price: £25/£15 concessions. Full details will be available early in the New Year.

If you, or any of your colleagues, would like to attend or receive further information, please let us know at info@outofthewings.org

Also, if you have not yet joined the Out of the Wings general mailing list, you can do so by clicking the Contribute link on this website. Alternatively, please email us at info@outofthewings.org

Hope to see you there!

‘Nothing is so dated as the avant-garde’

6 November 2008

David Johnson’s pithy aphorism at the symposium, ‘nothing is so dated as the avant-garde’, was debated in relation to Play Without a Title in which Lorca transgresses the division between the audience and the stage. One delegate of the symposium insisted the theme of this ‘impossible play’ was just as relevant today as it ever was. The notion of questioning the boundaries between fiction and reality does seem to be pertinent in a climate where, as many people have commented, the story of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’s misdemeanors dominated our media for a week while other more urgent narratives were sidelined. Pirandello’s earlier play, Six Characters in Search of an Author, of 1921 explores many of the ideas which Lorca represents in Play Without a Title. Rupert Goold’s production currently showing at the Gielgud Theatre in London is a radical reworking of the play. It is set not in a dress-maker’s shop, but in a television studio where the production team are making a film about Dignitas. The classic Modernist theme of the relationship between fiction and reality is examined by characters in the TV production team through their attempts to define the parameters of drama and documentary:

‘ACTRESS: I thought this was a docu-drama?

EDITOR: No, no, no no. This is a drama-documentary.


ACTOR: Sorry, what’s the difference between a docu-drama and a drama-documentary?

EDITOR: A drama-doc is what we’re doing – a documentary with some dramatic reconstructions, whereas a docu-drama is a scripted film of real life events.’

At the symposium Jonathan Heron, the director of Play Without a Title, asked: what is our real contact with violence, with the violence in Iraq, for example, other than that which is safely mediated through our television screen? Perhaps this is where the nature of the translation itself comes into play. Do Six Characters in Search of an Author and Play Without a Title serve as valuable reminders that we trust the media at our peril? Rupert Goold and Ben Power’s version is framed by additional scenes, the last few of which seem to act as a kind of manifesto. The executive producer of the television company is met on stage by Rupert Goold and Ben Power, who play themselves:

‘EXEC: […] I’m sick of these slavish, academic translations. We got rid of them in film and telly years ago. It’s not like the original isn’t there to be faithfully performed afterwards […] You know, Pirandello did about six different versions, I mean, he never left the thing alone, so we need to be clear which one we’re getting authorization for.’

Goold and Power’s version serves as a call for classic works of the avant-garde to be radically updated if they are to provoke their audience as Pirandello and Lorca intended.

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