26 December 2008

Kuwadro / Portrait 1

Let me talk a bit about my one-act play entitled Kuwadro, which was a high point in my playwriting career. It was inspired by the life of Honorata "Atang" de la Rama, was a play originally written for and acted by Rita Gomez (both now-deceased female actors were icons in Philippine theater and cinema) and subsequently performed by various other actors, and has been anthologized in various books. I wrote it originally in Filipino in 1980, having been commissioned by the Metropolitan Theater in Manila, then was prevailed upon to translate it into English for an English secondary school textbook. The English translation, entitled Portrait, was staged in various countries (the most recent in 2006 in Los Angeles, USA, with some changes by Johnny Jose Cruz that I authorized). The Filipino play was also translated into Cebuano and staged in the Southern, Cebuano-speaking part of the Philippines. The English play is available online on the Asia and Pacific Writers Network website. It's my only play that I translated myself. My other plays were translated by other people. In future posts, I want to talk about what I learned from the experience of translating my own play into a second language.

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