Good afternoon and welcome to the final session of this year’s conference! I’m Lauren Romagnano and I will be writing about this afternoon’s session on Shakespeare in Argentina and in Translation. Ralph Cohen will be moderating this session and he starts by introducing Dr. Mercedes de la Torre and discussing the work she has done by bringing Shakespeare to the community with her work.
Dr. de la Torre begins by discussing her work through Fundación Shakespeare Argentina. This organization is a nonprofit working through cultural educational collaborations to bring Shakespeare to Argentina. Dr. de la Torre believes that Shakespeare helps us to understand society and she wants to make it accessible to everyone. Her organization has created several important global connections, such as that with the ASC through Cohen, and this is how she was led to the idea of translating Leopoldo Lugones’s play, Dos ilustres lunáticos o La divergencia universal. She worked with Eugene Polisky to create the illustrated translation, which will be presented in both English and Spanish.
Rick Blunt and Ryan Odenbrett present the translated English play of H and Q’s meeting for the audience. We even received a treat when Ralph Cohen made a guest appearance as the donkey offstage. The scene circulates around two men talking about the Argentine strike on a railroad platform. At the scenes end, the audience discovers that the interaction was between Hamlet and Quixote. Next, Polisky reads the stage directions at the start of the scene in translation so the audience hears the description of the two men. Polisky and Seth Michelson then read the same scene in Spanish.
Afterwards, everyone gathers on stage to discuss the process of translation undertaken for this work. Lugones used a high-sounding, antique language that resembles Cervantes own style, which led to some difficulties during translation. Polisky wanted to ensure that he incorporated the right amount of romantic language in the English text. Michelson remarks that this whole project is one of transhistorical, transcultural migration that has created an enriching experience. Michelson and Polisky next share their own work outside of this project and discuss their experiences working on this.
Finally, the session ended when Cohen opened questions from the audience to the panel. Questions included a consideration of the dilemma of English speakers understanding the term strike as noted through the context of Argentina, how meaning is conveyed through this translation, and the process of translation as Polisky notes there are two methods: word for word and intent. The session ends with Cohen asking one final question: What is the Spanish translation for the sound a donkey makes?