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Taylor Mac, Lisa Peterson, and More "Translate" Shakespeare for Oregon Shakespeare Festival

OSF has commissioned 39 new works which give contemporary language to Shakespeare's plays.

Taylor Mac will create a "translated" version of Titus Andronicus for Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
(© Xanthe Elbrick)

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has commissioned 36 playwrights to translate the 39 plays attributed to William Shakespeare into contemporary English as part of a new project titled Play On!

Play On! has engaged many of the nation's leading playwrights, dramaturgs, theater professionals, expert advisors, and emerging voices in the field to create works that "increse understanding and connection to Shakespeare's plays." The program will provide translated texts as performable companion pieces to Shakespeare's original works. OSF director of literary development and dramaturgy Lue Morgan Douthit leads the project.

All playwrights must adhere to two rules: translate only the language that needs translating, without cutting, editing, or adding scenes, and put the same pressure on the meter of the language that Shakespeare put on his. Setting, time period, and references will remain unchanged.

Writers include David Ives (As You Like It), Lisa Peterson (Hamlet), Elise Thoron (The Merchant of Venice), Jeff Whitty (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Ellen McLaughlin (Pericles), Kwame Kwei-Armah (Richard III), and Taylor Mac (Titus Andronicus), among others.