Below is a guest post by PEN Translation Committee member Cobina Gillitt.


While many of the world’s greatest plays are only known to American audiences through translation (those by Sophocles, Ibsen, Chekhov, Brecht, and Ionesco, to name but a very few), it’s not often there’s a festival devoted to new plays from outside the United States and even rarer that these new plays being featured were written originally in other languages before being translated into English. What a boon and inspiration to translators of plays that the New York City–based hotINK Festival has been presenting new plays from outside of the United States (over 50 countries) for the past decade or so. This year’s hotINK will present works that have never been seen in America by 10 playwrights, from March 22 to 26, 2012.

Each play is presented only once, and almost all are followed by a discussion with the playwright and in some cases the translator as well.

This year hotINK is paying special attention to the essential contribution of translators by presenting a panel discussion on translation for the theatre in collaboration with PEN America Center. Panelists are playwright Aleksey Scherbak, whose play, Colonel Pilate, is featured in this year’s festival; John J. Hanlon, translator of Mr. Scherbaks’ play; translator and author Judith Miller; and translator Laurent Muhlheisen. I will be representing the PEN Translation Committee as moderator.

The panel on translation for the theatre will be held on Saturday, March 24 at 5 p.m. at the Lark Play Development Center, 311 West 43rd Street.

Other hotINK plays in translation at this year’s festival will include The Medea Effect by Suzie Bastien (from Quebec, Canada, translated by Nadine Desrochers); DNA by Giorgos Neophytou (from Cyprus, translated by Rhea Frangofinou); The Eyes of Others by Ivan Dimitrov (from Bulgaria, translated by Angela Rodel); Thanksgiving Day by Nikolai Khalezin (from Belarus, translated by Yuri Kaliada and Rory Mullarkey); and In Spitting Distance by Taher Najib (from Israel/Palestine, translated by Ros Schwartz.)

The Giorgos Neophytou play DNA (March 24, 3 p.m.) will be followed by a brief discussion with the playwright moderated by PEN Translation Committee Chair Susan Bernofsky.

Tickets to all hotINK events (readings and panel discussion) are free and can be reserved online here.