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On April 27, Lycoming’s Modern Language Studies Department Chair and Logan A. Richmond Endowed Professor Sandra Kingery, Ph.D., presented her translation of “The Treatment,” a play by Spanish writer Pablo Remón. The Lycoming theatre department presented a selection from the first act of the play virtually as a staged reading performed by Lycoming students and directed by C. Austin Hill, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of theatre.
The translation of Remón’s “El Tratamiento” was inspired after an evening at the theater while Kingery was visiting Madrid. “I loved the play so much that I wrote the playwright the next morning to ask him if I could translate it,” she said. He wrote back immediately giving her the rights, and the project began.
Despite the challenges that come with translating theatre, Kingery was excited about the undertaking. “The reason I’ve never translated theatre is that theatre is all dialogue and I think that dialogue is one of the hardest things to translate well,” Kingery said. “Even when the translator captures the ideas of the dialogue correctly, it’s really hard to make it sound natural. There is so much meaning that is carried in the way that people speak. I was a little bit nervous. But I love theatre, and I love translating, and I started thinking it would be fun to combine those two passions of mine.”
“The Treatment” is a contemporary play that entwines Spanish history with the life of the main character, including scenes during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to the country’s political transition from dictatorship to democracy in the 1970s and beyond. Here, Kingery was met with another challenge of translation. While a Spanish audience would understand the references made in the play, many Americans watching a translated performance would not. “I had to fill the gaps of the general knowledge base of the audience,” says Kingery, “but in a way that still feels natural in the dialogue.”
Yet another obstacle to theatre translation is the limited avenues for publication and performance. In order to publish a translated piece, the translator must certify that they have heard the work performed. With the assistance of a Professional Development Grant, Kingery was able to complete the translation and pass it on to the Lycoming theatre department.
Hill directed six student performers in the production, including Erin Fallon, Amber Fry, Emma Gawlas, Kirsten Houseman, Shania Jackman, and Zoe Pew. According to Kingery, “C. Austin Hill did an amazing job directing this dramatized reading on Zoom, and the six student actors were absolutely outstanding! They performed 12 roles between them and left the audience wanting more.”
Kingery’s translation was also performed at the Out of the Wings Winter Warmer festival in February. She has submitted the translation to be considered for a workshop and festival called Out of the Wings, an organization based out of King’s College in London that celebrates Spanish-language plays and holds an annual festival in which translators and actors can read, discuss, and develop translated works.
Kingery submitted the translation to an organization called Out of the Wings, based in King’s College in London, that celebrates Spanish-language plays and holds monthly workshops in which translators and actors can read, discuss, and develop translated works. They will be workshopping The Treatment in June. A selection of the translation was also performed at the Out of the Wings Winter Warmer festival in February.
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