Special Guest Harley Erdman Visits our Workshop
By Robin Kello
While the UCLA working group The Comedia in Translation and Performance looks forward to again sitting at the same table to render Hispanic classical theater into modern English, we still appreciate the magic of Zoom when it comes to allowing special guests to visit and contribute to our work. In May, we had the pleasure of inviting dramaturg, playwright, theater scholar, and translator Harley Erdman, who joined us to discuss his work and sit in on the workshop.
Professor Erdman spoke to us about his translation process, recent projects, and the many and varied pleasures of remaking the comedia in the present. We had a rich discussion about the movement from translation to production, and Erdman shared his experience bringing Luis Vélez de Guevara’s The Mountain Girl from La Vera and Ana Caro’s Count Partinuplés to the stage in the adaptations Wild Thing and Suitors. Might there one day be a double-header of Suitors and our own Ana Caro translation, The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs, or another theater event that pairs Erdman’s fine translations with ours? Watch this space.
Erdman stayed with us as we worked collectively through a section of Sor Juana’s Amor es más laberinto, our current translation project. A whirlwind of confusion, rife with disguise and uncertain affections, the play—in its emerging English version—would be ideal for the sort of adapted productions Erdman has shown to be successful on stage.
It is a true joy to be doing this work at such a rich time for the comedia in translation, and to be doing it among such good company. Thank you, Harley, for the translations, the inspiration, and the visit.