Words, Words, Words

Shirley here.

Along with the bustle of opening weekend came our first in a series of Artistic Director’s Roundtables and Thursday Evening Discussions focusing on THE SEAGULL ON 16TH STREET. These will run the gamut–we’ll look at Chekhov, at producing classic plays, and at our specific Theater J take on the Seagull. We’ll continue to announce panel guests on our website as we firm up those arrangements, but to whet your pallet (and remember, all of our discussions are free!):

Sunday June 28 at 5:30pm: The Russian Soul—Directing Chekhov
• Zelda Fichandler, co-founder Arena Stage
• Derek Goldman, Director, Theater and Performance Studies Program at Georgetown University
• Kasi Campbell, Freelance Director; Theater Professor at Howard Community College
• Paata Tsikurishvili, Founder and Artistic Director of Synetic Theater Company

Thursday, July 2 at 10pm: Site-Specific Chekhov
A look at the various approaches that directors and theaters have taken when producing Chekhov’s plays.

Sunday July 5 at 5:30pm:Pieces of Chekhov: Treplev, Trigorin, Dr. Dorn and Nina
• Jeffrey Sichel, Stage Director, Writer, Professor
• Catherine Schuler, Professor of Russian Theatre, University of Maryland at College Park

Thursday, July 9 at 10pm: The Translator’s Dilemma
A look at Chekhov from a language-first perspective.

Sunday July 12: “New Forms”: Adapting the Classics
• Joe Banno, Former Artistic Director of Source Theater, Freelance Director
• Jackie Lawton, playwright and dramaturg

Thursday July 16 at 10pm: talk back with the cast of SEAGULL ON 16TH STREET

Sunday July 19 at 5:30pm: Treplev’s Vision—And Ours. A Jewish Theater’s Mission

Sunday we hosted: A Discussion with Translator Carol Rocamora and Artistic Team: Carol Rocamora, John Vreeke, Misha Kachman & Ari Roth. With gems to be gathered from all of our guests, I share with you only those few that made it to my pen in time. Our fantastic guide and collaborator through Chekhov’s world, translator Carol Rocamora, was down from New York to see the opening performance. A bit about Carol first:

Dr. Carol Rocamora(translator) is an educator, playwright, translator and critic. Her three volumes of the complete translated dramatic works of Anton Chekhov have been published by Smith & Kraus. Her new play, “I take your hand in mine….,” based on the correspondence of Chekhov and Olga Knipper, premiered in September 2001 at the Almeida Theatre in London starring Paul Scofield and Irene Worth, and opened in Paris in October 2003 at Peter Brook’s Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, under his direction, starring Michel Piccoli and Natasha Parry. Now in her 15th year of teaching at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Dr. Rocamora has been the recipient of the David Payne Carter Award for Teaching Excellence. She also lectures on theatre at the Juilliard School, the Yale School of Drama, and Columbia University. Formerly, she was the founder and artistic director of the Philadelphia Festival Plays at Annenberg Center.

Dr. Rocamora once again showed herself to be a most engaging speaker and enthusiastic contributor; we’re thrilled to have had the chance to work with her. Her charm is rivaled only by Chekhov himself, evident in the many quotes of his that she’s shared with us. On his work being translated the playwright humorously exclaimed that his writing had been translated into “all languages, with the exception of foreign ones.” On a more serious note, he referred to the art of translating as “weaving a delicate lace”. Dr. Rocamora’s comparison of Chekhov’s work to an “impressionist painting” further reinforces how careful one must be when taking stories from one language and crafting them with the words of another–how easy it is to lose the rhythm, the poetry, and the specific character of a speaker when not using the native language. But Dr. Rocamora’s ease with the Russian language reveals itself in translations that are fluent and alive; her love of the theater creates translations that jump off the page; and her vast knowledge of Chekhov’s life and surroundings give us characters crafted of flesh and blood. We are glad to be in such good company, and Sunday’s discussion only reinforced that fact.

Do join us for future discussions, we’d love to have you there.