English-language premiere for modern Spanish play at Theatre503

A play by award-winning Spanish playwright Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez is to have its English-language premiere at London’s Theatre503 this month.

Cuzco Theatre503
Translated by William Gregory, it is a sharp contemporary portrait of a Spanish couple increasingly lost to one another as they travel along South America’s Inca Trail. Their tragic love story unravels as they journey towards Macchu Picchu haunted by their own desires and the ghosts of Spain’s colonial past.

The UK premiere is directed by Kate O’Connor who has extensive directing credits and was previously creative associate at London’s The Gate theatre and associate artist with Company of Angels.

Starring Gareth Kieran Jones and Dilek Rose, Cuzco runs at Theatre503 from 23 January to 16 February. Set and costume design are by Stephanie Williams, sound design by Max Pappenheim and lighting design by Jai Morjaria, and it is produced by Daisy Hale.

Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez is a playwright and director from Valencia. He won the MAX Best New Playwright Award in 2016 for We Won’t Kill Each Other with Guns.

Other notable plays include Not Even Spain’s Damn Mother Would Recognise Her, Written from the Flames, and Wild Horses Wouldn’t Drag Me Away, the winner of the 2011 INJUVE Award for Best Production. He was selected as part of the INAEM 6th Cycle of Contemporary Dramatists 2018.

O’Connor said: “We’re so proud to be bringing Cuzco to a UK audience for the first time with the English-language premiere at Theatre503. Víctor is a writer with a unique and incisive vision of our generation. Through this strange and compelling story of heartbreak, he is asking questions about what it means to live in today’s globalised world, and whether we can ever truly connect with one another under these conditions.

“At the core of this project is the work of our translator whose collaboration with writer, creative team and new writing powerhouse Theatre503 will turn this production into an opportunity for cultural exchange, something that couldn’t be more crucial at this moment in the UK.”

A play about nationality, colonialism and language, the translation of Cuzco was born out of a meeting between the playwright and the translator in Madrid in 2016, followed by a close collaboration ever since. William Gregory’s translation retains the poetry, passion and playfulness of the Spanish original while opening up new resonances for English-speaking audiences.

William Gregory began translating plays in 2003 and has since translated over 100. Recent work includes B by Guillermo Calderón at London’s Royal Court, Chamaco & Weathered by Abel González Melo at Home in Manchester, Villa+Discurso by Guillermo Calderón at MAC in Belfast and I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole by Rodrigo García at The Gate in London.

Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez commented: “When you travel, you often see yourself reflected in the country you visit. I wanted to talk about relationships, about the idea of Spain when you’re in a place like Cuzco. About all of these things, because it’s from a distance that we can best speak about ourselves. I’m engaging with the present and with how society, politics and the economy affect our sense of self and our most intimate relationships.”

Contemporary continental European plays in translation currently make up less than 1% of the work programmed on British stages. This week, a two-day conference at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, funded by The British Academy, is exploring why so few contemporary European plays in translation are produced in the UK. It runs alongside a programme of staged readings of new plays from across the EU at The Yard Theatre in London. Click here for more details.



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