30 November 2023 Creative Interpretation

Faculty-student translation project published in theatrical review.

In 2022, Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies May Farnsworth, Camila García ’24 and Erin Griffis ’23 began translating historic plays by 20th century Latin American female playwrights. Guided by Farnsworth — a scholar of theatre, feminism and social justice in Latin America and Spain — the project took a collaborative approach that yielded a recent publication in The Mercurian journal of theatrical translation.

In their interpretation of Argentine playwright Malena Sándor’s 1946 play Penelope No Longer Knits, Farnsworth, García and Griffis took a “collective” approach to retain the humor and feminist underpinnings of the original text.

Camila García ’24 and Erin Griffis ’23

In the play, written “at a time when indissoluble marriage was the law of the land,” the heroine of the Odyssey “insists on defending her legacy of fidelity,” as the translators explain in the notes accompanying their publication. Meanwhile, other iconic women — “portrayed as clever goddesses looking down from Heaven” — mock Penelope from above, “calling her unwavering loyalty to Ulysses naive and out of touch… [ultimately, convincing her] to finally let down her guard (and put down her knitting).”

To “preserve the play’s Argentine origins while still making it sound natural in English,” Farnsworth, García and Griffis “found that working collaboratively was the best way to capture the lively, frank and humorous conversations among the women, reproducing their incisive, thought-provoking banter,” they explain.

Read the translation here.

Additional translations of feminist theatre by Farnsworth, García and Griffis are published on the HWS Spanish and Hispanic Studies Digital Gallery. Learn more about the project here.

Farnsworth is the author of Feminist Rehearsals: Gender at the Theatre in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina and Mexico. The book examines how various aspects of performance culture, including spectator formation and playwriting, paralleled political activism and championed the goals of the women’s rights movement in Mexico and Argentina from 1900-1970. During the 2022-23 academic year, Farnsworth served as the John R. and Florence B. Kinghorn Global Fellow.

García and Griffis are both currently residing in Spain. García, a double-major in biochemistry and Spanish, is studying abroad in Sevilla while Griffis, who double-majored in Spanish and environmental studies, is working as an auxiliar at the Instituto de Escuela Secundaria José Caballero in Huelva.