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BCLT Research Seminar - Whose Voice? Translating the plays of Bosco Cayo - Wednesday 25th November, 4pm

BCLT Research Seminar - Whose Voice? Translating the plays of Bosco Cayo - William Gregory 

Wednesday 25th November 2020, 4pm-5.30pm, Online

Bosco Israel Cayo Álvarez (La Serena, 1984), is one of Chile's most important and prolific contemporary playwrights, winning the country's national literary award in 2017. Stretching from the northern deserts of Atacama to Chile's icy southern tip, his work is characterised by a mastery of language that seamlessly combines the mundane and familiar with the epic or grotesque, and a theatrical vision that pulls its audience brusquely from the domestic to the realms of the fantastical. Simultaneously, he tackles the social and political issues of his time.  Describing his own work, Cayo says: ‘My plays speak of the margins; of that which is not in the centre and that which we often forget.’ Having first translated Cayo for the Royal Court Theatre in 2013, William Gregory has been working on his oeuvre in the years since and continues to do so as part of his residency at the BCLT. But translating an author whose use of language is at once deeply local and highly poetical, rooted in reality but often stylised, and often humorous despite addressing tragic and frequently brutal circumstances, presents multiple challenges. When combined with the additional consideration of context (who is the translation's intended readership? Is the translation for publication or performance? In the UK or the US, or elsewhere?), the path to translating this bold theatrical voice can seem as treacherous as the windswept desert mountains of his plays. This seminar will explore some attempts at carving this path out.

William Gregory is currently Translator in Residence at BCLT. He is a translator from the Spanish specialising in the theatre of Spain and Latin America. Originally trained as an actor in London and Pamplona, he has translated close to 200 plays, many of these by contemporary playwrights as part of the international writer development workshops of the Royal Court Theatre, where he is also a script consultant. His performed work for the Royal Court includes B by Guillermo Calderón, A Fight Against… by Pablo Manzi (forthcoming) and various plays for the Arena Mexico, Cuba Real and New Plays from Chile seasons. Productions elsewhere include I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep than Some Other Arsehole by Rogrido García (Gate, London; Théâtre Excentrique, Sydney), Villa by Guillermo Calderón (Prime Cut, Belfast; Play Company, New York), Cuzco by Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez (Theatre503), Chamaco by Abel González Melo (HOME, Manchester) and The Concert by Ulises Rodríguez Febles (BBC Radio Drama). He was a finalist in the 2019 Valle Inclán award for literary translation from Spanish for The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Plays and a contributor in the same year to The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Argentine Plays. His forthcoming published work includes Housing Plan 2015-2045 by Bosco Israel Cayo Álvarez (Laertes Press). The non-fiction work The Uncapturable by Rubén Szuchmacher (Methuen Drama), a collection of reflections on theatre by one of Argentina’s leading directors, has just been published. He has also translated poetry and fiction. He is a member of the committee of the UK Translator’s Association, a Visiting Research Associate at King’s College London, and a member of the Hispanic and Lusophone theatre translation collective Out of the Wings.

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