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Translations

WORLD PREMIERE OF ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF WOMEN AND SERVANTS BY LOPE DE VEGA

From November 9-18, McMaster University’s School of the Arts will perform Women and Servants, a play by Spain’s great Renaissance dramatist Lope de Vega (see complete schedule and information below). Lost almost since its creation in 1613-14, and rediscovered only recently, in 2014, by Alejandro García-Reidy in Spain’s National Library, Women and Servants has never before been staged in English. Come see this witty, subversive comedy, where women and servants defy their masters—conspicuously absent from the title—as they affirm their freedom to live and love as they choose.

 

On Saturday, November 11, at 7pm, immediately before the 8pm performance, the play’s English translator, UCLA Professor Barbara Fuchs, will present “Love Knows No Master,” a discussion of the play’s challenging representations of personal autonomy, liberty in love, and the defiance of social norms. After the show, Professor Fuchs will join the cast and production team onstage for discussion.

 

Performance Schedule:

November 9 (Preview), 8pm

November 10-11, 8pm

November 15-18, 8pm

November 18, 2pm

 

Location: The Black Box

L.R. Wilson Hall

Price $20

$10 for students and seniors

 

Tickets available from Compass, or School of the Arts: (905) 525 9140 Ext. 27671

 

For more information on performances, visit: http://sota.humanities.mcmaster.ca/2017/11/01/women-and-servants/

 

For information on Barbara Fuchs’ lecture and discussion, see the poster below or visit: http://sota.humanities.mcmaster.ca/2017/11/07/love-knows-no-master-visiting-artist-lecture/

Women and Servants

Staged Reading of The Widow of Valencia

Join us on Wednesday, November 8th at 7:30PM for the staged reading of out working group’s latest translation, The Widow of Valencia.

 

 

Written by Lope de Vega between 1595 and 1599, this juicy play centers on the figure of Leonarda, a young widow, and her posse of suitors, who circle her house at all hours, hoping for a glance, a smile, or a kind gesture. Leonarda, however, is in love with Camilo, and in order to maintain the pious and reserved life that was expected of widows at the time, she devises a plan with her servants, Julia and Urbán, to lure him into her home. To add to the general sense of confusion, Lope sets the play in Valencia—one of the most vibrant and festive Spanish cities of the time—during Carnival, when amorality, chaos, and false identities were normalized and accepted.

 

Clever, compelling, and entertaining, The Widow of Valencia takes on universal themes of love, pride, and social standing, yet it remains unique in its daring portrait of intrigue and female sexuality. Directed by UCLA theater professor Michael Hackett, first year MFA students in the Acting and Directing Programs will bring Lope’s enthralling Golden Age characters to life.

The performance is free, but reservations are required. Please visit http://www.1718.ucla.edu/events/widow/

 

Jennifer L. Monti

widow poster

TRANSLATION WORKSHOP (OCTOBER 17): PROFESSOR EDWARD “MAC” TEST (BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY) VISITS UCLA

Many thanks to Professor Mac Test for workshopping his translation of Juan Pérez de Montalbán’s La monja alférez (The Swashbuckling Nun) with us. As expected, our discussion brought together a fruitful mix of disciplinary backgrounds, including Professor Test’s expertise in contemporary Anglo- and Latin American poetry and English Renaissance literature and our own diverse interests in Golden Age letters, Early Modern Iberian and Colonial American history, and contemporary Spain and Mexico. It was also a meeting of the minds on Baroque drama. Professor Test has translated a text that, given its subject matter, would have instantly jumped to the top of our list of pending projects—a play that, like all those we have taken on, portrays extraordinary agency beyond traditional gender roles (the “swashbuckling” Guzmán shares much with Hipólita from The Force of Habit, Lisena from A Wild Night in Toledo, and Leonarda from The Widow of Valencia). Additionally, Professor Test has introduced us to a play that, like our own favorites, represents the performative nature of (gender and class) identities and the possibility (and frequent necessity) of dissimulation in modern urban life. His visit is a powerful incentive to continue our work—surely there are more (unjustly and unbelievably underappreciated) gems out there, just waiting to be translated! We hope Professor Test has also taken something away from our conversation, and we look forward to seeing his translation published soon. Thank you for visiting us, and very safe travels back to Boise.

 

Paul Cella.

PROFESSOR EDWARD “MAC” TEST (BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY) TO VISIT UCLA ON OCTOBER 17

UCLA’s working group on the comedia looks forward to an upcoming visit from Professor Edward “Mac” Test (Boise State University) on October 17. A translator, poet, and Renaissance scholar, Prof. Test has invited us to workshop his recent translation of Juan Pérez de Montalbán’s play La monja alférez (The Swashbuckling Nun), which is based on the life of Catalina de Erauso, a Basque woman who escaped from a convent, cross-dressed as a man, and fled to America, where she led a life full of adventure. We are especially excited to explore with Prof. Test our common interests in the representation of gender in Golden Age drama—a topic that has occupied us from our first translation of Guillén de Castro’s La fuerza de la costumbre (The Force of Habit) to our most recent work: Lope de Vega’s La viuda valenciana (The Widow of Valencia)—and translation methodology, including challenges particular to translating dramatic verse (into poetry or prose?), and to producing English texts that appeal to scholarly readers and modern audiences. Thank you, Professor Test, for joining us, and welcome to UCLA!

Staged Reading of The Force of Habit

Join us on October 1st at Cal Poly Pomona for a staged reading of our translation of Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit (La fuerza de la costumbre).

 

The Force of Habit (c. 1610) makes spectators wonder if gender is a result of nature or nurture, if it is something that can be learned and unlearned, as the two siblings and protagonists, Hipólita and Félix, are brought up in the habits of the opposite sex. Hipólita, raised by her father on the battlefield, is fierce and competitive, while her brother Félix, who grows up by his mother’s side, is timid and sensitive. Once the family is reunited, however, the two siblings must adhere to traditional gender roles: they must learn how to behave as a man and as a woman—with all the social implications this change brings along. Though the play ends with Hipólita and Félix re-assuming their traditional gender positions, Guillén de Castro’s theatrical piece nevertheless points out the grave limitations of the gender system.

 

The staged reading of the play is part of this year’s Southern California Shakespeare Festival, an Actors’ Equity Association Company in residence at Cal Poly Pomona (https://www.cpp.edu/~scsf/). The Festival’s founder and Artistic Director, Theater professor and actor Linda Bisesti, decided to include a staged reading of the group’s translation of The Force of Habit after attending our workshop (organized by group member and Cal Poly Assistant Professor Marta Albalá Pelegrín) at Cal Poly Pomona on May 2nd, entitled Translating for Performance.

 

The staged reading of The Force of Habit will be preceded by this season’s performance: Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, which includes a cast and crew of roughly thirty Cal Poly Pomona students and alumni. The Comedy of Errors opens on Saturday, September 7th, at 7:30 pm at the Cal Poly Pomona Studio Theater.

 

We invite you to join us on Sunday, October 1st at 2:00 pm for The Comedy of Errors, and again at 5:00 pm for The Force of Habit, for an afternoon filled with fun and back-to-back gender-bending performances. For more information on locations, times, and booking, please visit https://www.cpp.edu/~scsf/performance-calendar/index.shtml

 

Jennifer L. Monti

Graduate Students Conclude a Successful Comedia Summer, Supported by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York

The Comedia in Translation and Performance Working Group and Diversifying the Classics is pleased to announce the successful completion of our first summer grant period supported by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York.

 

The Pine Tree Foundation’s generous two-year grant is aimed at expanding the “Library of Translated Hispanic Classical Plays,” which is home to the working group’s original translations and serves as an online resource for theater practitioners and others interested in the Spanish comedia. In summer 2017, funding from Pine Tree provided stipends for four graduate students to increase and improve the Library’s holdings. (Two more graduate students will receive stipends in summer 2018.) Coupled with an award from the UCLA Arts Initiative—which supported three additional graduate students in an ongoing collaboration with the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television—the working group was able to greatly advance their work in terms of both publications and outreach.

 

Thanks to the Pine Tree grant, the working group was able to edit and annotate its translation of The Widow of Valencia, which was drafted during the academic year, and to write an introduction aimed at theater practitioners as well as students and scholars working in English. The process included intensive table-readings and detailed cooperative editing. Widow will be posted on the Diversifying the Classics website for open access, and published in hard copy by Juan de la Cuesta – Hispanic Monographs.

 

Widow will also receive a dramatic reading in November 2017 (date TBA). This activity is part of Diversifying the Classic’s durable collaboration with UCLA’s Department of Theater, through which, in the fall quarter of each academic year, first-year MFA students perform the working group’s latest translation. The performance not only assists the working group in communicating directly with the actors and fine-tuning the translation, but also helps theater practitioners-in-training to become acquainted with the corpus and discover “what lies beyond Shakespeare.”

 

In addition to their work on Widow, graduate students were afforded the space to improve earlier translations (A Wild Night in Toledo, Unhappily Married in Valencia, and What We Owe Our Lies) by submitting them to rigorous new table-reads, carefully incorporating feedback from previous dramatic readings in the Department of Theater, and ensuring that each facing-page translation strictly adheres to the group’s style guide, which was likewise fine-tuned over the summer. Juan de la Cuesta will also publish these translations, as well as 90 Monologues from Spanish Classical Theater, an anthology for actors who—like UCLA’s MFA students—wish to diversify their corpus by incorporating the comedia, a largely untapped resource in English-speaking theatrical circles.

 

Additional areas of research, collaboration, and outreach focused on undergraduate and K-12 education. Graduate students advanced their partnership with About…Productions, a local theater company, by completing a 12-session high-school level unit on Spanish comedia and Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit. This will be published on the Diversifying the Classics website and feature toolkits for exploring the world of early modern Spain as well as current discussions about gender identity, which is the subject of this timely and relevant play.

 

Grant recipients also worked with the UCLA departments of Arts Education and World Arts and Cultures to design a hybrid literature/service-learning course, the syllabus for which is currently under consideration for implementation in the 2017-2018 academic year. In this course, UCLA undergraduates would study early modern comedia alongside modern performance practice and theory, such as Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), and then design complementary curricula to be implemented in local middle schools.

 

A partnership between graduate student grantees and faculty at Cal Poly Pomona resulted in a dramatic reading of The Force of Habit, which will take place on October 1, 2017 as part of this year’s Southern California Shakespeare Festival. This follows a previous co-sponsored event at Cal Poly: a workshop entitled “Diversifying the Classics: Translating for Performance” (held on May 2, 2017), which was attended by approximately one hundred students and faculty and featured presentations and discussions led by Barbara Fuchs and several members of the working group.

 

Graduate students also laid the groundwork for future performances in Los Angeles by establishing contact with companies and performers in Spain and Mexico; built relationships with theater practitioners involved in Encuentro de las Américas, a bilingual festival of arts and culture in which the working group hopes to participate; identified and reached out to faculty from other Southern California campuses whose research and service dialogues with the working group’s; and published several blog posts, ranging from engaging book reviews to inspiring pieces on dramatic forms and drama festivals.

 

Finally, the summer 2017 stipends supported research and preparation for the working group’s next translation, Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Amar después de la muerte (To Love After Death) (1633). This play was chosen in response to strong interest expressed by Spanish and U.S. theater practitioners in its themes and content—namely, inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict and conciliation. Set during a rebellion in 16th-century Spain, this will be the first tragedy and historical drama translated by the group.

 

We thank the Pine Tree Foundation and its director, Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, for supporting our mission, our work, and our students—and we look forward to another productive Comedia Summer in 2018!

 

Payton Phillips Quintanilla

 

Coming soon: The Widow of Valencia

Set in Valencia at the end of the sixteenth century, The Widow of Valencia tells the spicy story of the young widow Leonarda, and her posse of hopeless suitors. Written between 1595 and 1599 by Lope de Vega, perhaps the most renowned playwright of Spain’s Golden Age, the play was not published until 1620. The publication date, as well as the text’s dedicatory to Marcia Leonarda, makes the play all the more intriguing.

Lope’s lover, Marta de Nevares, is, according to critics, the woman from the dedicatory, and she also shares a name with the play’s protagonist, Leonarda. Marta had, in fact, become a widow in 1618, and one cannot help but think of an analogy between Lope and Camilo, the one man with whom Leonarda falls in love. Though there has been great interest in the play in Spain, without a translation it has remained relatively unknown in the English-speaking world. Now UCLA’s Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance has translated and annotated Lope’s play, and will soon be posting it for open access on the group’s website: http://diversifyingtheclassics.humanities.ucla.edu.

 

The play’s juiciness lies in its intricate plot and permeating sense of mystery. Lope here inverts the myth of Cupid and Psyche, in which the god of love takes on the role of a mystery lover: in The Widow of Valencia, Leonarda becomes an invisible lover to Camilo. Widows were expected to maintain a pious, devout, and reserved life, yet Leonarda, with her servants Julia and Urbán, devises a plan to enjoy her lover’s company without compromising her family name and social status. Camilo is to be hooded by Urbán and brought into Leonarda’s house through the back door, so that the two can consume their passion in the dark, away from curious eyes. To add to the general sense of confusion, Lope sets the play in Valencia—one of the most vibrant and festive Spanish cities of the time—during Carnival, when amorality, chaos, and false identities were normalized and accepted.

 

Leonarda must face the dangers to which attractive young widows were exposed in sixteenth-century Spain—dozens of suitors roam her house at all hours, hoping for a glance, a smile, or a kind gesture. They even disguise themselves as door-to-door vendors for the chance to speak with her face to face. Leonarda deglamorizes her apparently favorable romantic situation to uncover the difficult reality of being a rich widow. In a passionate speech to her uncle Lucenio, who insists that she marry, Leonarda points out the pompousness and dishonesty of most suitors, who wish to marry her only to snatch her fortune. By keeping her identity a secret in her dealings with Camilo, Leonarda manages to maintain social decorum without renouncing her appetite for sexual pleasure.

 

Clever, compelling, and entertaining, The Widow of Valencia takes on universal themes of love, pride, and social standing, yet it remains unique in its daring portrait of intrigue and female sexuality. With the forthcoming translation, Lope de Vega’s one-of-a-kind play can finally be enjoyed by actors, directors, and theatergoers in the English-speaking world.

 

Jennifer L. Monti

Comedia Summers: New Award from the Pine Tree Foundation Supports Students and Translations

la-viuda-valenciana-portada

 

The Comedia in Translation and Performance working group recently received some fabulous news: the Pine Tree Foundation awarded Diversifying the Classics a grant that will allow us to complete the translation of two more Golden Age plays between now and the summer of 2018!

 

The funds will specifically support graduate students from the working group who will spend their summers editing, annotating, and writing introductions to plays that underwent draft translations during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years. These students will also prepare the plays for publication (in print and online) and for their debut performances in UCLA’s Department of Theater (a fall quarter tradition).

 

The first of these plays, which is currently being workshopped, is Lope de Vega’s The Widow from Valencia (La viuda valenciana, c. 1595-1600). The play begins with Leonarda rejecting a series of potential suitors in order to protect the freedom she gained with her husband’s death. But, when she discovers that disguise can offer its own freedoms, she engages in a clandestine affair from behind the protection of her veil. Lope presents us with a balancing act of visibility and invisibility, liberty and imprisonment in the pursuit of personal desires.

 

Thank you to the Pine Tree Foundation and to its director, Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum—a passionate scholar and supporter of the Spanish Golden Age comedia—, for making our project possible!

 

Payton Phillips Quintanilla

About…Productions: Your Ticket to Seeing Spanish Classical Theater through a Social Justice Lens

yt-pueblo

About…Productions is a current partner in the “Classics in the Classroom” pilot project, a K-12 curriculum-building area of Diversifying the Classics. Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of the company, Theresa Chavez and Teaching Artist Sayda Trujillo are collaborating with members of UCLA’s Comedia in Translation and Performance Working Group to develop a series of lesson plans using our translation of Guillén de Castro’s comedic play The Force of Habit (La fuerza de la costumbre, 1610). At the center of the play are siblings separated at birth, the brother raised by his mother wears robes and knows how to sew, the sword-wielding sister grew up with her father and is skilled in battle. As the plot unfolds, we’re faced with questions about gender identity and nature versus nurture, and power structures not just in a family unit but the broader social context.

 

About…Productions’ Chavez and Trujillo are experts in embodiment and dialogue exercises from the traditions of Agosto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. TO traditions offer a guide to recognizing discrimination and marginalization faced by the disenfranchised and approaches to overcome social divisions, with steps to community building and resistance. To develop lessons for The Force of Habit, the company uses their model, Young Theaterworks (YT) program, a literacy-based theater residency for underserved, at-risk high school students, primarily in East L.A. Our graduate students are observing YT in the classroom and community spaces, learning about engagement with underserved students and arts-based educational tools. Lesson development for The Force of Habit with About…Productions has been an exciting opportunity to incorporate methods in theater arts to create safe spaces to talk about family dynamics, patriarchal social structures, and factors that contribute to forming and performing who we are. The working group will be providing open access (via its website) to all materials created from this initiative, so as to reach teaching artists, teachers and many more students nationwide.

 

Veronica Wilson

COMING SOON: WHAT WE OWE OUR LIES

what-we-owe-our-lies-flyer

We are once again collaborating with the Department of Theater at UCLA to present a dramatic reading of the group’s most recent translation efforts, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s What We Owe Our Lies (Los empeños de un engaño).

 

What We Owe Our Lies (Los empeños de un engaño, c. 1621-25) depicts the efforts of two women, Leonor and Teodora, to pursue their love against the dictates of their brothers, who are trying to arrange reciprocal marriages for them. Occupying different floors of the same building, the two women are not particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of having their marriages arranged for them, and contend instead for the love of Don Diego de Luna, a stranger in town who ceaselessly roams up and down their street, attracting the attention of everyone in the neighborhood. Their amorous pursuits lead them into an intricate web of lies and obligations which pile up into seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

 

Under the direction of Michael Hackett, professor of Directing and Theater History, first year students from the MFA program will have the opportunity to practice their craft while engaging with the theatrical tradition of the Spanish comedia. For many of the students this will be a new experience. As it has always been the group’s aim to be a resource to the theatrical community, we will be involved in our capacity as translators and students of comedia in the rehearsals leading up to the performance. Part of what makes this collaboration so exciting is that members of the Working Group learn just as much about dramaturgy as the students learn about Golden Age Spanish theater. The opportunity to engage with practitioners is especially invaluable to us as translators, as it allows us to witness first-hand what works and what doesn’t on stage. Is a joke too obscure for an actor to pull off? Is the language clear as well as poetic? Does the staging make sense? These are all questions that can only really be answered in practice, and it is always a truly informative—not to mention fun!—experience to see practitioners at work.

 

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, November 2nd for what promises to be a night of laughter and fun. For more information on booking, please visit http://www.1718.ucla.edu/events/lies/

 

Laura Muñoz