Theatre Translation Portfolio/Cartera de traducción teatral

The Reality, 2018 (La realidad, 2012, by Denise Despeyroux; my translation commissioned for performance at the Cervantes Theatre on 2 June 2018 )

According to the Cervantes Theatre website:

Twin sisters attempt an awkward exercise of pretending to be someone else, taking them close to the line that separates good and evil; the love of life and destruction; lucidity and madness. What do you do to pose as someone inside of you? Can you love the living in the same way that you have love for the dead? Is darkness hindered by light?

Masters of the Universe, 2018 (Los amos del mundo, 2016, by Almudena Ramírez-Pantanella; my translation commissioned by the author and performed at the Cervantes Theatre as part of the Out of the Wings Festival 2-6 July 2018)

Los amos del mundo, on which Masters of the Universe was based, was awarded the 2015 Calderón de la Barca prize by the Ministry of Culture through the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM) in recognition of merit and to encourage the work of young dramatists.

Listen to Almudena talk about the play and my involvement in the translation in an interview for the Radio Nacional de España La sala podcast on 5 February 2018 here.

According to the 2018 Out of the Wings Festival website:

Two lost souls, separated by a train platform. A shocking event that will change one commuter’s life forever. Miguel, a confident young intern in a flashy suit, seems to have it all. He’s got a cushy job waiting for him when he finishes his placement in the city, and he has a nice middle class family egging him on.

For the moment, he’s the master of all he surveys. But what happens when events take a course of their own, and the very things you thought were sure in life don’t make sense anymore? What happens when your only hope is hopelessness and the only thing you can depend on is yourself? What happens when the masters of the universe find they no longer have any power?

Mendoza, 2017 (Mendoza, 2017, by Antonio Zúñiga and Juan Carrillo; my translation commissioned by the CASA Latin American Theatre Festival 2017 and performed at the Southwark Playhouse 24-28 October 2017)

View the official Southwark Playhouse programme information here.

As part of the CASA Latin American Theatre Festival Season 3 September – 3 October 2017, I was asked to write an English translation of Mendoza, a Spanish-language adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which was performed in Spanish as part of the festival by the Mexican theatre company Los Colochos, at the Southwark Playhouse 24-28 October 2017, with English-language surtitles based on my translation. According to the Southwark Playhouse website:

An earthy, radical reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set during Mexico’s War of Independence in the early 19th Century. General Mendoza is returning to camp when he stumbles across an old witch who prophesises that he will come to lead the army. Convinced into action by his wife, he begins a chain of grisly murders that will come to seem endless.Inspired by Juan Rulfo and Elena Garro and deeply connected to the Mexican soil, this thrilling fast-paced and blood-soaked ensemble production exposes Mexico’s downward spiral into the gruesome violence that exploded into the world’s consciousness with the massacre of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa.

No Direction, 2016 (Sin dirección, 2016, by Miguel Alcantud and Santiago Molero; my translation commissioned by Words without Borders magazine for international literature and performed at the Martin E. Segal Theater New York 13 December 2016)

View the complete play online here.

I was asked to lead the December 2016 issue of Words without Borders magazine, and chose the emerging area of microtheatre. I ran an international call for submissions, edited the sucessful plays for publication and helped support a series of rehearsed readings on 13 December 2016 at the Martin E. Segal Theater New York. According to the Words without Borders website:

No Direction, by Miguel Alcantud and Santiago Molero, and translated by Sarah Maitland, makes the most of microtheater’s capacity to explore new modes of dramaturgy. The setting is tense, claustrophobic, and confusing by design. A man appears to be locked inside a basement or bunker room. There is a woman, Ana, who insists that he cannot be let out. Although the audience never learns his name, we are pulled inexorably into the mysteries surrounding the man’s evolving story. Alcantud and Molero craft their play in a space of temporal dislocation that requires spectators to collude in the destruction of any narrative structure that has a clear beginning and end.

Read my introduction to the December 2016 issue – ‘The World on Stage: Micro-Plays in Translation’ – here.

Read a review of the special issue here.

Punishment Without Revenge, 2013 (El castigo sin venganza, 1631, by Lope de Vega; my translation commissioned by the Theatre Royal Bath and adapted for performance at the Theatre Royal Bath, 26 September-21 December 2013, the Arcola Theatre, 11 January-15 March 2014, and Belgrade Theatre, 28 March-19 April 2014, by the Theatre Royal Bath)

View the official Theatre Royal Bath programme information here.

As part of the Theatre Royal Bath Spanish Golden Age Season 26 September – 21 December 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 terrifies 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…

Rituals of Defiance: Past Resistance, Present Ambiguity, 2012 (Book chapter by Felipe Castro Gutiérrez; my translation commissioned for publication with Duke University Press)

To read more about the complete book collection, or to order online, visit:

Inside the Earth, 2011 (Dentro de la tierra, 2011, by Paco Bezerra; my translation commissioned for publication with Caos Editorial and performed at the New Diorama Theatre, 3 June, 2011, and at the Rose Theatre, 31 May-2 June 2011, by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance)

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, 2009 (Agripina, 2009, by Fermín Cabal; my translation commissioned for publication with Caos Editorial and performed at the Unicorn Theatre, 16 October 2009, and at the Rose Theatre, 13 October 2009, by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance)

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, 2009, (El cartógrafo, 2009, by Juan Mayorga; my translation commissioned by the Centro Dramático Nacional)

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, 2008 (Rey loco, 2008, by Lourdes Ortiz; my translation commissioned for publication with Caos Editorial and performed at the Rose Theatre, 26 October 2007, by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance). 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, 2007 (Nina, 2007, by José Ramón Fernández; my translation commissioned for publication with Caos Editorial and performed at the Canada Water Cultural Space by the Spanish Theatre Company, 22 May 2015, and at the Rose Theatre, 11 May 2006, by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance). 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, 2005 (En la roca, 2005, by Ernesto Caballero; my translation commissioned for publication with Caos Editorial and performed at the Brian Friel Theatre, 26 November 2010, and at the Rose Theatre, 28 April 2005, by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance). 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.