Drama · Russian

Russian drama in translation

A short play I co-translated was performed as part of a showcase event of international theatre in translation, in celebration of [Foreign Affairs] theatre company’s 4th anniversary.

The ‘By Invitation Only’ pop-up theatre event was an exciting mash-up of scenes from a selection of classic and contemporary plays. Five of the pieces were brand new translations commissioned by [Foreign Affairs] for the night. See the event programme here.

One of the pieces performed was In the Park, a one-act play by contemporary Russian playwright Ilya Chlaki which I recently translated together with Francisca Everduim.

Who’s Ilya Chlaki?

Chlaki is a Russian playwright who has lived in Germany since 1991. He has more than 40 plays to his name, mostly two-act plays, one-act plays and monologues. At least 12 plays have been translated into German language and his plays have been performed in USA, Germany, Russia, Byelorussia, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan. This performance by [Foreign Affairs] was his UK debut.

More about [Foreign Affairs]

“Moving through translation, pushing boundaries + exploring unconventional venues”

East London’s international theatre company, [Foreign Affairs] is dedicated to presenting works of non-English language origin. [Foreign Affairs] Translates! is a programme for students of translation as well as emerging and established translators, consisting of regular workshops, play readings and ongoing practical support culminating in public events to showcase selected works.

Follow them on Twitter @4nAffairs and using the hashtag #FATranslates

Arabic · Drama · non-fiction · Translation

Political satire from Lucien Bourjeily and a short story by Samar Yazbek

I had two translations in this edition of Index on Censorship magazine.

Lebanese political satire

When writer Lucien Bourjeily made censorship the theme of his latest play, he knew he was in for a battle. And he was right. His play about censorship ended up being banned. Not surprisingly, he thinks this decision tells its own story about Lebanon today.

In this extract from Will It Pass or Not?–published for the first time in English–Lucien Bourjeily exposes the ridiculousness – and arbitrary nature – of the Lebanese Censorship Bureau, which commonly bans material that is deemed to be obscene, offensive to religions or politically sensitive.

Title: Will it pass or not? (click here for online extract)

Author: Lucien Bourjeily

Translator: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

First published in: Mission creep — defending religious tolerance and free speech, Index on Censorship, vol. 42, issue 4, pp. 134-148, December 2013

Sample: this extract is available online here

Syrian short story

In a story written for this publication, Syrian dissident author Samar Yazbek reflects on what it’s like to be a writer of fiction faced with the violence and atrocities of civil war and asks: how can we produce literature right now, in this era of bloodshed?

Title: I write with blind eyes and forty fingers

Author: Samar Yazbek

Translator: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

First published in: Mission creep — defending religious tolerance and free speech, Index on Censorship, vol. 42, issue 4, pp. 130-133, December 2013

Sample: this extract is available online here