Editor’s Note 5.2

This issue of The Mercurian is bookended by theatrical translations from two languages and two countries we have not published before: Che Xiao’s translation of Villain in a Turbulent Time from China, and Roger Allen’s translation of Soiree for the Fifth of July from Syria.

Soiree for the Fifth of June

By Sa`dallāh Wannūs
Translated by Roger Allen

Theater in this case not only offers a telling commentary on the events of the recent past, but also comes disarmingly close to the actual situation in the public domains of much of the Arabic-speaking world, that very space that in 2014 is being contested in many of its regions following the events of the so-called “Arab Spring” of 2011.

Empty Bottles

By Oscar Sanz Cabrera
Translated by Matthew Ward

The play is translated into what I would call a ‘rough and tough’ London English, which I felt was the closest equivalent to the colourful language and ribald humour of the Barcelona residents that make up the cast of Oscar’s characters.

Citizen Schippel

By Carl Sternheim
Adapted by David Copelin and John Van Burek
From a literal translation by Lascelle Wingate

One night last month took care of that. We were alone. He was my universe; I was happy, and full of desire. If he’d said one word, made one gesture, I’d have given myself to him. But the idiot just sat there, his big calf’s eyes bugging out of his head.


By SONG Jie, SUN Tuo
Translated by CHE Xiao

Based upon the real history of the three generations of the Shi family during the later Zhao period (319-351 A.D.) competing with each other for the imperial throne, the adaptors turned Richard III into a real historical figure Shi Zun, one of the emperors of the period.