With this issue The Mercurian moves to a new publishing format that we hope will be more pleasurable to the eye as well as provide a platform for greater access to the work of our contributors. I want to extend my gratitude to my Editorial Assistant Sarah Booker for taking on the majority of the heavy lifting that made the conversion to the new format possible.
The issue begins with Margaret Stanton and Anna Donko’s translation of El Salvadoran playwright Jorgelina Cerritos’ play On the Other Side of the Sea. Even amongst Latin American theatre scholars there still exists a great gap in our knowledge of Central American theatre and publication of Cerritos’ existential meditation on identity begins to fill that gap. The collaboration on this translation between teacher and student, one an experienced translator, the other a neophyte, presents a potential model for expanding the field of theatrical translation.
We continue with John Thomas Howard’s translation of Colombian playwright and director Críspulo Torres’ The Kittens. As Howard describes in his introduction, The Kittens is an adaptation of Colombian short story author Álvaro Cepeda Samudio’s “Vamos a matar los gaticos,” written in response to the assassination in 1948 of the Liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the spark that lit the fire of the infamous period known as La Violencia in Colombia. Torres’ play, written in 1991, reshapes Cepeda Samudio’s story to respond to the wave of violence unleashed by Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, a period also recently captured to great effect in the Netflix series Narcos. Torres’ one-act theatricalizes Colombia’s seemingly endless state of violence and political conflict.
The Kittens is followed by Manoela Wolff’s translation of Jessica Luisa’s play Useful Phones (In Case of Emergency) from Brazil. Useful Phones is a lyrical investigation about the difficulty of sincere communication in contemporary society.
Useful Phones is followed by Sophie Louise Stevens’ article, “Distance and Proximity in Analyzing and Translating Bailando sola cada noche (Dancing alone every night).” Stevens focuses on the translation process of bringing Uruguayan playwright Raquel Diana’s work to a UK audience, and the complications that arise when the subject of the Uruguayan play is the death of the Englishwoman Joyce Vincent, whose body was discovered in London in 2006, two and a half years after her death. Stevens analyzes both the Uruguayan playwright’s use of the Englishwoman’s death to speak to her own Uruguayan context, as well as the English translator’s position and process as she translates a Uruguayan interpretation of an English event for an English audience.
The issue concludes with Alena Aniskiewicz’ review of Loose Screws: Nine Plays from Poland, Edited by Dominika Laster. Loose Screws is one of several recently published collections of Polish theatre in translation and Aniskiewicz’ review joins Will Harrington’s review of (A)Pollonia: Twenty-First Century Polish Drama and Texts for the Stage published in Volume 6, Number 1 (Spring 2016) of The Mercurian.
Back issues of The Mercurian can be found at: http://drama.unc.edu/related-links/the-mercurian/ or under the Index menu of the new website. As the theatre is nothing without its audience, The Mercurian welcomes your comments, questions, complaints, and critiques. Deadline for submissions for consideration for Volume 6, No. 3 (Spring 2017) will be February 1, 2017.