Blossoming trees and flowers, along with the attendant pollen they bring to allergic eyes, noses, and throats, demonstrate that Spring has come to Chapel Hill. That also means that it is time for the Spring 2017 issue of The Mercurian.
This issue contains translations of two Spanish plays, Enrique Zumel’s A Fiery Young Man from 1865, and Federico García Lorca’s When Five Years Pass from 1931. Christopher Kidder-Mostrom’s introduction to his translation of A Fiery Young Man, “Of Mummies and Mustard,” describes some of the challenges he encountered when translating a play whose humor depends upon puns based upon an understanding of the nineteenth-century chemistry that was part of the apothecary’s art. Luigi Salerni’s introduction to his translation of When Five Years Pass details an experienced stage director’s search for a translation that would capture the rhythms of Lorca’s poetry in a forcefully theatrical fashion. Both translators have found effective and theatrically rich solutions to the problems that they faced. I am also pleased to be able to publish Juan González beautiful paintings alongside the translation of When Five Years Pass. These paintings were created in response to Lorca’s play and were commissioned as a complement to the Meadows Museum of Art in Dallas, TX 1992 exhibition of Lorca’s own drawings. As Salerni describes, the projected performance of the translation utilizing González’ visual images in conjunction with the Meadows Museum of Art’s exhibition never came to pass. While no substitute for such a performance, readers can at least get a feel here for how the visual images and the play combine. Both these paintings and other examples of González’ stunning work can be found in Irene McManus’ Dreamscapes: The Art of Juan González (NY: Hudson Hills Press, 1994).
The issue concludes with Kristin Johnsen-Neshati’s review of the book Tahrir Tales: Plays from the Egyptian Revolution, edited by Mohammed Albakry and Rebecca Maggor. Johnsen-Neshati’s review of these ten translations builds upon the publication of Roger Allen’s translation of Sa`dallah Wannus Soiree for the Fifth of July in Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall 2014), and The Mercurian’s desire to bring more Arabic theatre to our readers.
Back issues of The Mercurian can be found at: https://themercurian.wordpress.com/index/.
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. 4 (Fall 2017) will be September 30, 2017.
Neil Blackadder, Knox College
Catherine Coray, hotINK at the LARK/New York University
Richard Davis, George Mason University/Theater of the First Amendment
Jean Graham-Jones, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
David Johnston, Queen’s University, Belfast, N. Ireland
Kirsten Nigro, The University of Texas-El Paso
Caridad Svich, Playwright/Translator
Paul Walsh, Yale School of Drama