A (New) Shakespeare Play Translated into Modern Language

On March 27, Play on! in collaboration with Ashland New Plays Festival presents EDWARD III by William Shakespeare, translated by Octavio Solis and directed by Dawn Monique Williams
ASHLAND, Ore. — Forget the international debate over translating William Shakespeare’s verse into contemporary modern English. Playwright Octavio Solis, who has been commissioned to translate EDWARD III, says “the controversy should be about why this was not a Shakespeare play before.”

Solis is one of 36 playwrights across the country hard at work translating 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare into modern language. Oregon Shakespeare Festival has innovated the ambitious Play on! project for a purpose. "The clarity we aspire to get from the translations will make us better appreciate the vibrancy of the original,” says OSF’s Artistic Director Bill Rauch.

EDWARD III, which was published anonymously in 1596, has had its authorship argued over by scholars since as early as 1760. Today, scholarly opinion is divided as to whether Shakespeare wrote all or part of the play. It was included in Shakespeare’s Complete Works published by Yale University Press in 1996. The play’s exclusion from the playwright’s original canon in the 16th century was possibly due to politics – in particular a 1598 protest over the play's portrayal of the Scottish.

Whether within the stories themselves or in arguments surrounding their authorship, Shakespeare’s works are steeped in political intrigue and heated discourse. In EDWARD III, history is brought to life through the personal struggles, passion, vengeance, and battlefield showdowns of pivotal characters at the start of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.

Ashland New Plays Festival is excited to join the fray and help bring EDWARD III’s translation to the stage as a dramatic reading. The performance will be directed by Dawn Monique Williams and will feature a cast of 12, including many of OSF’s finest actors. Kimberly Colburn, literary manager of South Coast Repertory, is Solis’ dramaturg partner.

It will be a one-night-only event, Monday, March 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Southern Oregon University’s Music Recital Hall, 405 S Mountain Avenue, Ashland. Reserved seating tickets are $20 and $25 and will be available for sale online beginning February 15 to the general public and in advance for ANPF members. 

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