Adaptation and Translation

What considerations are at play when adapting and translating works for the stage? Content in this section explores work that is adapted from one form into another, or is translated between languages. A great place to start is the Translating the Future series, in which renowned translators from around the world discuss their craft.

The Latest

Learning from the Leaders
Essay
Learning from the Leaders
Deaf Theatre Innovations in the Time of COVID-19
by Luane Davis Haggerty
3 May 2021
Unrehearsed Futures: Theatre Making
Video
Unrehearsed Futures: Theatre Making
Episode 4: Transference and Transposition - Notes from across the boundaries of the original medium
Thursday 29 April 2021
South Africa
The Classical Theatre of the Oppressed
Essay
The Classical Theatre of the Oppressed
Adapting The Vagina Monologues in Malawi
by Fumbani Innot Phiri
13 April 2021
six performers on a stage with watery blue silks
Learning from the Leaders
Essay

Learning from the Leaders

Deaf Theatre Innovations in the Time of COVID-19

3 May 2021

Luane Davis Haggerty shares successes, learnings, and innovations from the Deaf theatre community over the past year of pandemic performance.

event poster with text for unrehearsed futures episode four.
Unrehearsed Futures: Theatre Making
Video

Unrehearsed Futures: Theatre Making

Episode 4: Transference and Transposition - Notes from across the boundaries of the original medium

Thursday 29 April 2021
South Africa

Presenting Unrehearsed Futures: Theatre Making livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Thursday 29 April 2021 at 5 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 10 a.m. BST (London, UTC +1) / 11 a.m. SAST (Cape Town, UTC +2) / 2:30 p.m. IST (Mumbai, UTC +5:30) / 7 p.m. AEST (Hobart, UTC +10).

An image of six actors forming a semi circle around and actor standing on actors block , The actor on the block, is lifting food to their mouth with pained expression.
The Classical Theatre of the Oppressed
Essay

The Classical Theatre of the Oppressed

Adapting The Vagina Monologues in Malawi

13 April 2021

Fumbani Innot Phiri Jr. details the creative process of the production of The Vagina Monologues that took place during 16 Days of Activism in Malawi and offers his thoughts, as an audience member, on the show’s big impact.

A picture of puppets on stage.
La Máquina Real / La Máquina Real
Essay

La Máquina Real / La Máquina Real

Reviving a Baroque Puppet Tradition / Recupera los títeres de una tradición perdida

8 April 2021

Emilio Williams sits down with Jesús Caballero to talk about the lost puppetry genre called la máquina real and Jesús’s company in Spain that works to reimagine this Baroque art form. / Emilio Williams entabla una conversación con Jesús Caballero sobre un género de teatro de títeres olvidado de nombre la máquina real y los esfuerzos de Jesús y su compañía en España por recuperar esta tradición barroca.

four actors posing for a photo
Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway
Essay

Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway

Virginia Grise’s Stage Adaptation of Helena Maria Viramontes’s Their Dogs Came with Them

17 March 2021

Manuel Muñoz reflects on Virginia Grise’s adaptation of Their Dogs Came with Them, which took place in fall 2019 under the colossal concrete freeway ramps of the I-10 freeway that dissect South Tucson from the edge of the Sonoran Desert.

an actor onstage
Adapting to Pandemic Regulations
Essay

Adapting to Pandemic Regulations

A New Way of Performance Watching for an Old Classic

4 March 2021

Merve Parla shares her experience with Netherlands-based dance company Club Guy & Roni’s recent production of Swan Lake, an interactive experience with both offline and online components.

Tropical Angels A New Musical Reading poster.
Tropical Angels, a new musical
Video

Tropical Angels, a new musical

The English premiere of a work written in Chinese and English exploring different possibilities to devise translated theatre.

Wednesday 11 November 2020
United States

Musical Theatre Factory presented the Tropical Angels, a new musical reading livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 11 November 2020 at 3:30 p.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 5:30 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC -6) / 6:30 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).

zoom video chat
Breaking New Post-dramatic Ground
Essay

Breaking New Post-dramatic Ground

Wesleyan University’s The Method Gun

28 September 2020

Jean Tarbox discusses Wesleyan University’s Zoom adaptation of The Method Gun as a radical invention that invited audiences to see and interpret reality on a deeper, more perceptual basis.

a collage of 14 headshots.
A Flight of Tokarczuk Translators
Video

A Flight of Tokarczuk Translators

A conversation moderated by Susan Harrris featuring 10 of Olga Tokarczuk's translators

Friday 25 September 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented A Flight of Tokarczuk Translators livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 25 September 2020 at 10 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 9 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 15:00 BST (London, UTC +1) / 16:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

Natalie Diaz, Marilyn Nelson, and Ken Liu.
Democracy and Translation
Video

Democracy and Translation

With Marilyn Nelson, Natalie Diaz, and Ken Liu

Thursday 24 September 2020
New York City

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Democracy and Translation livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 24 September 2020 at 7:00 p.m. EDT (Boston, UTC -4) / 6:00 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 5:00 p.m. MDT (Denver, UTC -6) / 2:00 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 1 p.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC -8) / 11 a.m. HST (Honolulu, UTC -10).

Ava Chin, Jasmine Claude-Narcisse, Damion Searls, and Lisandro Pérez.
Postmonolingual New York
Video

Postmonolingual New York

A conversation with Ava Chin, Jasmine Claude-Narcisse, Damion Searls, and Lisandro Pérez.

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Postmonolingual New York livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 23 September 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EDT (Boston, UTC -4) / 5:00 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 4:00 p.m. MDT (Denver, UTC -6) / 1:00 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12 p.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC -8) / 10 a.m. HST (Honolulu, UTC -10).

On the Elusive Art of Translation
Video

On the Elusive Art of Translation

A conversation with Kate Briggs and Tracy K. Smith, moderated by Magdalena Edwards

Tuesday 22 September 2020
United States

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented On the Elusive Art of Translation livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 22 September 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

Anton Hur, Sevinç Türkkan, and Jen Hofer.
Activist Translation
Video

Activist Translation

A conversation with Anton Hur, Sevinç Türkkan, and Jen Hofer

Tuesday 15 September 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Activist Translation livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 15 September 2020 at 9:00 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 11:00 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 12:00 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 17:00 BST (London, UTC +1) / 01:00 KST (Seoul, UTC +9).

Ellen Elias-Bursac, Aaron Robertson, Julia Sanches, and Queenie Sukhadia.
Translating Trauma
Video

Translating Trauma

with Ellen Elias-Bursac, Aaron Robertson and Julia Sanches, moderated by Queenie Sukhadia

Tuesday 8 September 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Translating Trauma livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 8 September 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

three actors onstage
Classical Theatre in Another Strange Land
Essay

Classical Theatre in Another Strange Land

3 September 2020

Esther Fernández talks about closing the gap that separates classical and contemporary theatre and discusses the piece En otro reino extraño, a polyphonic work composed of scenes from Lope de Vega’s plays; snippets of informal conversations between the actors in Zoom chats; poems transmogrified into electrocumbia, punk, and pop songs; and video montage.

Laurie Patton, Gopal Sukhu, and Vivek Narayanan.
(Re)Translating the Classics
Video

(Re)Translating the Classics

with Laurie Patton, Gopal Sukhu & Vivek Narayanan

Tuesday 1 September 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented (Re)Translating the Classics livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 1 September 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

headshots of octavio solis and kate hamill
Rad Adaptation (Radaptation?) with Octavio Solis and Kate Hamill
Video

Rad Adaptation (Radaptation?) with Octavio Solis and Kate Hamill

with playwright Lauren Gunderson

Thursday 27 August 2020
United States

Playwright Lauren Gunderson presented Rad Adaptation (Radaptation?) with Octavio Solis and Kate Hamill livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 27 August 2020 at 12 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 2:00 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 3:00 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

Mary Ann Newman, LaTasha Diggs, and Madeleine Cohen
Language as Polis
Video

Language as Polis

with Madeleine Cohen, LaTasha Diggs & Mary Ann Newman

Tuesday 25 August 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Language as Polis livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 25 August 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

a woman looking up.
A Conversation with Igor Golyak and Wang Chong (ASL-interpreted)
Video

A Conversation with Igor Golyak and Wang Chong (ASL-interpreted)

Discussing the online performance State vs. Natasha Banina and the state of online theatre

Wednesday 19 August 2020
Boston MA, United States

ArtsEmerson presented A Conversation with Igor Golyak and Wang Chong livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 11 August 2020 at 9 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 10 a.m. EDT (Boston, UTC -4) / 15:00 BST (London, UTC +1) / 16:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

Janet Hong, Pierre Joris, and María José Giménez.
Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings III
Video

Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings III

with Janet Hong, Pierre Joris & María José Giménez

Tuesday 18 August 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings III livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 18 August 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

Paige Aniyah Morris, Shuchi Saraswat, Allison Markin Powell, and M Lynx Qualey.
Building Translator Communities and Communities for Translation
Video

Building Translator Communities and Communities for Translation

With M Lynx Qualey, Shuchi Saraswat, Allison Markin Powell & Paige Aniyah Morris

Tuesday 11 August 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Building Translator Communities and Communities for Translation livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 11 August 2020 at 9 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 10 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 15:00 BST (London, UTC +1) / 16:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2) / 23:00 KST (Seoul, UTC +9).

yoko tawada.
Lightning in a Bottle: A Case Study of Publishing Literary Translation
Video

Lightning in a Bottle: A Case Study of Publishing Literary Translation

Featuring Yoko Tawada with Margaret Mitsutani, Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Jeffrey Yang & Rivka Galchen, moderated by Stephen Snyder

Tuesday 4 August 2020
International

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Lightning in a Bottle: A Case Study of Publishing Literary Translation livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 4 August 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

two actors onstage
Foundations for a Cross-Cultural Community Theatre in Dharamshala
Essay

Foundations for a Cross-Cultural Community Theatre in Dharamshala

29 July 2020

Parvathi Ramanathan talks about the community-based, cross-cultural theatre project, d.r.i.f.t., in India’s Dharamshala region.

Martin Puchner, Peter Constantine, Tess Lewis
Channeling Ghost Languages of Europe
Video

Channeling Ghost Languages of Europe

with Martin Puchner and Peter Constantine, moderated by Tess Lewis

Tuesday 28 July 2020
United States

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Channeling Ghost Languages of Europe livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 28 July 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

Boris Dralyuk, Eric Tsimi, and Rajiv Mohabir
Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings II
Video

Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings II

with Boris Dralyuk, Eric Tsimi, and Rajiv Mohabir

Tuesday 21 July 2020
United States

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings II livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 21 July 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).