Performing International Plays

Making plays accessible to wider audiences through translation is an exciting journey! Join me on my latest adventure by exploring Performing International Plays, a non-profit, open access website focused on empowering and supporting teachers in their effort to diversify the curriculum and ensure the content they deliver speaks to and represents all students.

The website is rich with FREE educational resources, featuring 20 plays from around the globe, with accompanying videos, essays, lesson plans, and more.

I’ve been honored to contribute an alternative translation of an excerpt of the award-winning Cuban play, El Concierto / The Concert by Ulises Rodríguez Febles. The resources provided allow students to compare and contrast the original Cuban Spanish text with William Gregory‘s English translation, and my Spanglish translation set in South Florida, U.S.A.

There are videos of all three versions being performed by professional actors, directed by Camila Ymay González, to bring the study to life.

Behind the scenes with Alvaro Flores (Butcher), Jimena Larraguivel (Woman), Luis Soto (Father-in-Law), director Camila Ymay González, and Luciano Dodero (Johnny)

Social and historical context are provided in a downoadable essay by Dr. Lillian Mansor.

“In addition to the characters’ rebellious nature in the 1960s, the four were indeed also crossed by ideologies and the intolerance of the period. Gigi Guizado’s translation into American English takes into account these two points as well as others. She situates the present of The Concert in Little Havana where the characters reside after leaving Cuba. The translation naturally uses Spanglish and code-switching typical of bicultural subjects. Using references from rock music lyrics, she chose, for example “fortunate sons” to suggest the privilege some of the characters had that allowed them to finish their studies.

The Concert: The Dreams of Nowhere Men
Essay by Dr. Lillian Manzor
Associate Professor of Modern Languages, Literatures and Hemispheric Caribbean Studies, University of Miami
Luciano Dodero as Johnny and Luis Soto as Father-in Law

Guizado’s choice to place The Concert in Little Havana is clever and plausible. After all, there are many crossed ones who now live there. Her option opens up the play and situates it in Greater Cuba, that cultural space beyond geographical borders that can accommodate Cubans on and off the island, a space in which these four fictional characters and real citizens also have to reckon with all the ghosts from their past.

The Concert: The Dreams of Nowhere Men
Essay by Dr. Lillian Manzor
Associate Professor of Modern Languages, Literatures and Hemispheric Caribbean Studies, University of Miami

Translator’s Notes written by myself and William Gregory about our processes are included, as well as an education pack with classroom exercises.

William’s wonderful full length translation is available through Nick Hern Books.

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