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Fence Archive

20. Waterford/Manhattan, January 2015

In January 2015 Fence members returned to the United States for the second leg of a meeting of minds with US, Canadian and Latin American playwrights, translators and theatre-makers. We were hosted by the Waterford, CT, Eugene O'Neill National Theater Institute, and by New York City's The Lark Play Development Center .

For the first part of the trip, to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, we were a core group of 26


Roundtable discussion: THEORY topics

  • Translation vs. Adaptation
  • Literal vs. Literary translation
  • Page vs. stage translations (to be read vs. performed
  • Political and Ethical implications of translation
  • Linguistic and cultural transposition (including specific theatrical modes)
  • Translator’s responsibility (author, actor & audience)

Click here for Daniel Karasik's blog on translation issues

Roundtable discussion: PRACTICE topics

  • Translation as dramaturgical practice
  • The playwright’s role in the translation process
  • Translating the hidden meaning beyond language (physical/spatial/tonal)
  • Variations of the source language (e.g. British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc)
  • Expressing regional dialects from source to target language
  • Working in teams of two (and three) – playwright, translator, dramaturg
  • Long distance translation

Roundtable discussion: PRODUCTION topics

  • Getting translations to production and publication
  • Getting play translated without production
  • Incorporating translation into the performance itself
  • Directors/dramaturgs involvement and rights of interpretation

Staged Reading to commemorate Martin Luther King Day – The Last Scene, by Alain Foix translated by Amelia Parenteau, with assistance from Neil Fleming

Scratch Night featuring extracts of new work from 12 participating playwrights/dramaturgs/translators

Dan Bye has kindly put all all of the recordings of full-group discussions at the O’Neill on dropbox,

Click here to access them.

For the second part of the trip – to The Lark Play Development Center in New York City

Field Trips

  • Brooklyn: Noel Allain (Artist Host): Bushwick Starr, BRIC, JACK & Invisible Dog
  • East Village: Wayne Maugans (Artist Host): LaMama, Cherry Lane, Judsonmetc.
  • New York Theatre Workshop: with Associate Artistic Director Linda Chapman


Industry Roundtables

  • Roundtable discussion: PRODUCTION topics (see Monday schedule)
  • Translation Contracts and Guidelines discussion with Robin Sokoloski & Beth Blickers
  • Focused conversation with invited industry guests, including Beth Blickers, Antje Oegel, Robert Lyons, Kristin Marting, Ian Morgan and Lauren Weigel)

FENCE Members meeting

  • The Network, what it is and how it is working
  • Working Groups and Hubs
  • Future Meetings: Mannheim, Bucharest, Istanbul, Cuba, Hong Kong, Novi Sad, Toronto …
  • Structure and Governance

Final evening presentation of work snippets at The Lark

For notes on meetings, please see the following attached documents:

Meanwhile, here are some useful documents and information that we think could be of interest:

Playwrights Guild of Canada's Translation Guidelines (in English and French) provided by Robin Sokoloski

Middle Eastern and South Asian writers provided by Catherine Coray

Malaysian theatre artists provided by Jonathan Meth

Links to details on the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Hong Kong New Plays Selection provided by Haoran Wang

Penny Black has provided us with links to guidelines and recommended rates for translators:

Lastly, Andrea Hiebler, the Director of Scouting and Submissions here at the Lark, has provided us with the Lark's Support Criteria for playwrights. Namely:

  • Plays which are ambitious, fresh, playful, engaging, energizing, provocative, powerful, and theatrical
  • Plays that reveal unheard and vital perspectives
  • Playwrights with clear goals about their writing who are open to a development process

A special thanks to Robin, Catherine, Jonathan, Penny, Haoran and Andrea. We hope this is helpful to all of you!