Volume 6, Issue 4 (Fall 2017)
Temperatures are dropping here in North Carolina after an unusually warm autumn, signaling the time to publish the Fall 2017 issue of The Mercurian: A Theatrical Translation Review.
The issue begins with Peter Wortsman’s translation of German Expressionist Ernst Toller’s Hinkemann. As Wortsman describes in his introduction, Toller wrote the play between 1921-1922 while serving a prison sentence for his role as a leader, and president for six days, of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. Wortsman’s translation brings us the black comedy and poetry of Toller’s dramaturgy as it portrays the trials and tribulations of a wounded WWI veteran who becomes a carnival geek in order to support his pregnant wife.
Hinkemann is followed by Wendy Weckwerth’s translation of August Strindberg’s longest play, Gustav Adolf. The translation is part of Weckwerth’s long-term project to translate all of Strindberg’s history plays. While history plays comprise nearly a third of Strindberg’s sixty or so plays, and display many of the innovative techniques found in his better-known works, Strindberg’s history plays are largely unexplored. With the publication of Gustav Adolph, The Mercurian is pleased to begin to fill that gap in our knowledge of Strindberg’s dramaturgy.
The first issue of The Mercurian, published in 2007, contained an article by Hannah Amit-Kochavi entitled “Performing Arabic Plays on the Israeli Hebrew Stage (1945-2006).” With the publication of Miriam Yahil-Wax’s translation of her own play, The First Stone, we continue that conversation. The play, portraying how the killing of Arab women in the name of “family honor” permeates all aspects of society, was written in Hebrew and then translated into Arabic by Masud Hamdan. Performed by the Israeli-Arab actor Salwa Nakara, The First Stone toured throughout Israel and abroad, and was presented before Jewish and Arab audiences alike. We publish it here in English for the first time.
Continuing our efforts to promote theatrical translation in a variety of ways, this issue concludes with book reviews of two recently published collections of plays in translation. Maria Mytilinaki Kennedy reviews The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Greek Plays, and Paula Gordon reviews Selected Serbian Plays. Both volumes are part of the small, but ever-growing, number of collections of theatrical translations published in recent years. By reviewing them here The Mercurian hopes to foster more publications of this kind.
Back issues of The Mercurian can be found at: https://the-mercurian.com/.
As the theatre is nothing without its audience, The Mercurian welcomes your comments, questions, complaints, and critiques. Deadline for submissions for consideration for Volume 7, No. 1 (Spring 2018) will be February 1, 2018.