Resituating the Comedia, Conference 2: Made for the Stage: Translation and Performance
By Richard Huddleson
Last month, the UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies and the Clark Library brought together a rich variety of speakers from the worlds of theatre and academia as part of the year-long core program “Resituating the Comedia.” Alongside a host of comedia fans and others interested in learning more about theatre from across the Ibero-American world, scholars and practitioners explored new contexts for Hispanic classical theater. All of the conference sessions put forward different suggestions as to how we can get the comedia performed and recognised within the worlds of Anglophone theatre, with particular attention to the translator’s role in facilitating this process and engaging with a contemporary audience.
Through the rich variety of papers and from comments and perspectives offered up by attendees, it was made clear that change is needed – and urgently so. There is still a great deal to be done in order to overcome the Anglophone world’s reluctance to look beyond the handful of white male playwrights that make up the English canon. Whilst the act of translation is often ignored or brushed away into the wings, this conference has served to highlight the valuable contributions made by scholars, theatre practitioners, and translators in promoting the Comedia and has underlined the collaborative nature of our work.