Theatre translation portfolio

PUNISHMENT WITHOUT REVENGE by Lope de Vega translated by Meredith Oakes from a literal translation by Sarah Maitland, 2013 (Theatre Royal Bath). View Theatre Royal Bath programme information here

As part of the Theatre Royal Bath Spanish Golden Age Season 26 September – 21December 2013, I was asked to write a literal translation from Spanish into English of Lope de Vega’s El castigo sin venganza. According to the Theatre Royal Bath website:

Punishment without Revenge is a dark and thrilling drama, an audacious blend of unbearable tension and delicious comedy, which both terrifi es and delights.

Regarded as the greatest tragedy of the Spanish Golden Age and the finest play of its presiding genius, Lope de Vega, this elegant work is set in the dangerous and glamorous world of Renaissance Italy.

The Duke of Ferrara has lived a wild and unconventional life. An infamous womaniser, his only son, Federico, is a bastard whom he dreams will one day succeed him. When his subjects demand that he marry and provide them with the stability of a legitimate heir, the proud and beautiful Cassandra, Duchess of Mantua, is sent to be his bride.

But everything does not fall happily into place.

A passionate love develops – but not between the Duke and his Duchess – and, in a culture where honour is the highest virtue, there can be only one outcome…”

Inside the Earth, by Paco Bezerra, 2011 (Caos Editorial)

This haunting tale of fantasy and horror in southern Spain has won a range of awards including the Spanish National Prize for Dramatic Literature. Drawing on urgent themes of immigration, human rights abuse and environmental damage, the play tracks the fate of the youngest of three brothers, tasked by their controlling father to turn the scorched earth of southern Spain into fertile land for their tomato farm. A story of forbidden love soon becomes a macabre tale of prejudice, ambition and abuse among the endless miles of shimmering plastic that characterise the Orchard of Europe.

Agrippina, by Fermin Cabal, 2009 (Caos Editorial)

Agrippina is an urgent story of greed, politics and power in ancient Rome, from one of Spain’s most celebrated contemporary playwrights. It is the year 53 AD, and the city of Rome has survived the successive purges of Tiberius and Caligula. When Emperor Claudius divorces his wife and marries his niece Agrippina the Younger, two great Houses are fused into a single royal dynasty. For a time, the family is united, politics are stable and Rome is quiet. Determined not to led her son Nero fade into obscurity, however, Agrippina hatches a plot to place him on the throne, and unleashes a wave of violence that touches everyone in its path.

The Cartographer, by Juan Mayorga, 2009 (Spanish National Institute for Performing Arts and Music)

During the Second World War, Warsaw’s Jewish citizens were forcibly detained by occupying German forces within a large dividing wall, separating the Jewish ghetto from the rest of the city. Out of this oppressive geography emerges the story of a boy and his grandfather, a master cartographer and mentor to the boy as he reveals to him a geography of resistance that re-imagines the walls that separate one person’s reality from another. By viewing the past as a map that delimits the present, the play highlights the invisible borders of exclusion and oppression that operate as its contours, cartographies to which we are all prone to adopting. Look out for the forthcoming Spanish revision by Juan Mayorga of his original play.

Mad King Ludwig, by Lourdes Ortiz, 2008 (Caos Editorial). Buy online here

Set in the famous palaces of Bavaria, this play weaves a rich tapestry of literary and cultural history based on rigorous historical research. As King Ludwig II approaches his final days, he is visited by the memory of Richard Wagner, a man with whom he shares a complicated history. Together, they discuss lovers, friends, enemies and opera, and as Ludwig’s last moments draw ever nearer, they are two men united by their desire to leave a lasting legacy and testament to their respective genius.

Nina, by Jose Ramon Fernandez, 2007 (Caos Editorial). Buy online here

Nina is a woman paralysed by failure; her failure to make good on her dreams, her failure to live up to the type of life society expected of her. One stormy night, fifteen years after leaving the seaside town of her youth, she makes her return and soon finds herself reunited with Blas, an old friend and her one remaining link to a time when things made sense. As they spend the night talking through their hopes, dreams and failures, an arresting story unfolds of the inertia that accompanies the realisation that life does not always work out the way we plan.

On the Rock, by Ernesto Caballero, 2005 (Caos Editorial). Buy online here

The year is 1937. Europe is poised on the brink of a second war; Spain, embroiled in a devastating civil war, is torn apart by the battle between Franco and his army generals and the Republican government. In a hotel somewhere on the rock of Gibraltar, Kim Philby, a special correspondent for The Times, meanwhile, reminisces about the good old days with Guy Burgess, a friend from university days. There is more to Guy than meets the eye, however, and when reminiscences soon turn to politics, he makes a mysterious job offer that will have profound implications for the future of Spain and the course of the Second World War.