article brings together three interrelated parts: an interview
with Marina Carr, a translator’s preface, and a fragmentary
Spanish translation of her play By the Bog of Cats…
(1998). The interview seeks to capture the unique voice
of Carr in a relaxed and informal conversation that reflects
on her life, theatre, influences, as well as her overall
fascination with Spanish and Latin American literature.
The translation is the first rendering of By the Bog
of Cats… into Spanish. It is preceded by a translator’s
prologue which offers a discussion of Carr’s drama and
comments upon the several difficulties encountered during
Carr (born 1964) has recently been described as ‘Ireland’s
leading woman playwright’ (Sternlicht 2001: xv), ‘one
of the most powerful, haunting voices on the contemporary
Irish stage’ (Leeney, McMullan 2003: xv), and ‘the only
Irish woman to have her plays produced on Ireland’s main
stages in recent years’ (Sihra 2007: 19). Undoubtedly,
Carr has emerged as one of the most gifted new voices
in the Irish theatrical arena and stands side-by-side
with prominent fellow Irish playwrights Brian Friel, Frank
McGuinness and Tom Murphy. She has written more than a
dozen plays, including The Mai (1994), Portia
Coughlan (1996), By the Bog of Cats… (1998),
On Raftery’s Hill (2000), Ariel (2002),
Woman and Scarecrow (2006), and The Cordelia
Dream (2008). She won the E. M. Forster Award from
the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001) and the
Irish American Fund Award (2004). She has been writer-in-residence
at the Abbey Theatre and Trinity College Dublin, and has
recently served as Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies at
the University of Villanova.
Many of our readers would like to know about your upbringing
in County Offaly, and how this countryside setting influenced
your work. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
I grew up in a place called Gortnamona, which means ‘field
of the bog’, for the first eleven years, and then moved
a half-mile down the road to a place called Pallas Lake.
Our house was on the shore of the lake. There were swans,
there were bulls, there were dragonflies, there were fishermen.
My sister and I spent long summer evenings sitting on
an old oak tree looking out at the lake, laughing our
heads off at anything, everything, nothing. The winters
were cold, sometimes the lake froze. I went to my mother’s
school along with my brothers and sister. She was the
principal there. She loved history and mythology. When
the weather was fine she would let us play for hours outside.
She would walk around and around the schoolyard in her
sunglasses speaking Irish. We put on plays at home and
at school. It was a good childhood, free and fairly wild.
Your plays have been variously linked to a range of theatrical
traditions, including Irish drama, Attic tragedy, Shakespeare
and Ibsen. In relation to modern European drama, nobody
to my knowledge has yet mentioned the name of the Spanish
poet and playwright Federico García Lorca as one of your
influences. I recall that while I was reading the final
speeches of Sorrell and Dinah in On Raftery’s Hill,
I was transported to the ending of The House of Bernarda
Alba in which all the daughters have lost their chance
of achieving any happiness and will be locked forever
in the claustrophobic walls of the maternal house. Also,
your play By the Bog of Cats… – for all its parallels
with Greek tragedy – is above all a blood wedding, with
passionate acts of love, jealousy, and revenge. How familiar
are you with the work of Lorca? And, do you feel any kinship
with his drama?
Joan O'Hara as Catwoman and Olwen
Fouéré as Hester Swane in the 1998 World Premiere
of By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr.
© Abbey Theatre Photo: Amelia Stein
I love Lorca, he’s always fascinated me. I spent a long
time reading and re-reading his plays in translation:
Yerma, Blood Wedding, The House
of Bernarda Alba. They are incredibly powerful, Lorca
is a poet of the theatre, like Ibsen, Chekhov, Wilde and
Beckett. In 2006 I saw a wonderful production of Yerma
here in Dublin (Arcola Theatre, in a new stage version
by Frank McGuinness featuring Kathryn Hunter as Yerma).
I’d love to see other productions of his plays. And yes,
I feel a strong affinity with Lorca and I wouldn’t be
surprised if you find echoes of his theatre in my plays.
My reading is very eclectic and is not just confined to
Irish- and English-speaking authors.
Are there any other Hispanic or Latin American writers
I’ve read most of Marquez’s work including One Hundred
Years of Solitude, Love in the Times of Cholera,
and recently his compelling autobiography: Living
to Tell the Tale. I found it so fascinating that
I’m still waiting for a sequel to be released! I also
adore Borges, although he demands a very different type
of reading. Not long ago I was re-reading his Fictions,
enjoying his paradoxes, and his speculations on infinity.
I then realised that there is an Irish poet, Paul Muldoon
who’s written a book, The Annals of Chile, which
I think is very Borgesian. Muldoon has a wonderful voice
and is always playing intellectual games. His book traces
a number of parallels between Ireland and Latin America
and is written in English, mixed with Gaelic and Spanish
words. I’d imagine that Muldoon is familiar with Borges’s
work, the connection is certainly there.
What you were just saying reminds me of Borges’s essay
‘The Argentine Writer and Tradition’ in which he talks
about a sense of brotherhood between Ireland and Latin
America. We can think of their marginality, colonial histories,
imposed languages, and deeply ingrained Catholicism. Borges
advised Argentine (and Latin American) writers to follow
the example of the Irish who tried out every subject,
‘the universe is our birthright’, he said.
I can clearly see the parallels, and I’m not at all surprised
that a writer like Borges could so perceptively find a
connection between the Irish and Latin American imaginations.
Yes, the Irish writer draws from a wide range of sources,
and so does the Latin American. They have taken stuff
from all over the place, and they are happy to admit it,
like Borges. You’ve got so many wonderful writers out
there. For instance, I’ve started reading a short story
collection entitled Last Evenings on Earth by
the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño.
That’s fascinating! Have you read any of Bolaño’s novels?
No, I haven’t yet; this is the first book I encountered.
But I’d like to read more. Which one would you recommend?
Well, there’s The Savage Detectives and his gigantic
masterpiece 2666, which has been praised by Irish
writers such as John Banville and Colm Tóibín. Whenever
people ask me about it I usually say – tongue in cheek–
that if Joyce and Borges ever got together to write a
book, this is the book they’d have written (laughter).
(Laughter) sounds fascinating. Are there any other Latin
American writers you’d recommend worth reading?
I think you’d really enjoy Julio Cortázar’s short stories.
There’s one called ‘Letter to a Young Lady in Paris’,
which is about a man who keeps coughing up little rabbits,
a bit like your Catwoman in By the Bog of Cats… who’s
got mouse fur growing out of her teeth.
I’d love to read it. (Makes note of Cortázar’s name).
Now I’d like to know a bit more about one of your latest
plays, The Cordelia Dream, which may be read
as an afterlife of Shakespeare’s King Lear. It’s
significant that Irish and Latin American writers have
for centuries talked back to Shakespeare: Wilde, Shaw,
Joyce, Borges, Neruda, Carpentier, they have all done
In my case I’ve been dealing with the ghost of Shakespeare
for quite a long time. I love King Lear; it’s
one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I’ve always been
fascinated by the four howls and the five nevers
in Act 5, when Lear enters with Cordelia dead in his arms:
‘Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones./Had
I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so/That heaven’s
vault should crack […] Why should a dog, a horse, a rat
have life,/And thou not breath at all? Thou’lt come no
more./Never, never, never, never, never’. So I decided
to write a play which captured that unique moment, which
is in essence the blood bond between a father and a daughter.
Is the Daughter, then, a twenty-first century version
Well, she is a version of Cordelia but also Goneril and
Regan: a mixture of the three sisters. The father demands
a test of love and devotion from his daughter, he asks
her to be silent.
Like Cordelia in King Lear when she refuses to
perform in Lear’s ceremony: ‘Love and be silent’.
Yes, the sacrifice that the father demands from his daughter
and which eventually kills her.
Your plays are haunted by the mysterious forces of the
supernatural. You bring to the stage the eerie world of
ghosts, visions, prophesies, and voices and sounds from
the Otherworld. A critic has vividly described this dark
dimension of your work as: ‘Carr cracks open a window
onto the ghost world that troubles her sleep and allows
her audiences to overhear the tumult’ (Harris 2003: 232).
Could you tell us more about your relationship with death?
I suppose that in transcendental terms there are moments
when one realises that there’s a link between this world
and the next. They are not two completely separate places.
How many other worlds are there? That’s a question I keep
asking myself when I write. I’d say that I’m interested
in that shadowy area, the borderland between life and
death. It’s a different way of seeing the world, it opens
another dimension. Having said this, I also believe that
you have to make the most of it in the world you are in.
It’s important to enjoy this life.
Yet in spite of the powerful tragic forces of your drama,
there is an undeniable touch of dark comedy in your plays.
How important is comedy for you?
I think it’s important to strike a balance between the
tragic and the comic, and humour is such an essential
aspect of life. Tragedy does not necessarily rule out
comedy. I like to transport my readers and audiences into
a magical world, to make them feel the power of the theatre,
and that also includes amusing them.
Have your plays been translated into other languages?
Yes, German, Italian, Croatian, Dutch and many others.
There have been stage productions all around the world
including China, South Korea, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech
Republic, Canada, the United States, and here in Ireland,
Would you give me permission to include a fragmentary
Spanish translation of By the Bog of Cats… in
Irish Migration Studies in Latin America?
I’d be delighted to reach out to Hispanic audiences.
and Translating Carr’s By the Bog of Cats…
Fionnuala Murphy as Carline Cassidy
and Tom Hickey as Xavier Cassidy in the 1998 World
Premiere of By the Bog of Cats
by Marina Carr.
© Abbey Theatre Photo: Amelia Stein
a young Irish dramaturgist, Marina Carr is writing in
the wake of a longstanding tradition of Irish playwrights
associated with the birth and development of the Abbey
Theatre at the beginning of the twentieth century – including
W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and J. M. Synge. But for all
her creative engagement with rural Ireland - its language,
people, themes, and landscape - Carr’s theatre also stages
the grand-scale subject matter of Greek and Shakespearean
tragedy. Marianne McDonald has recently identified a special
kinship between Irish literature and ancient Greek tragedy:
‘In the twentieth century, there seem to be more translations
and versions of Greek tragedy that have come from Ireland
than from any other country in the English-speaking world.
In many ways Ireland was and is constructing its identity
through the representations offered by Greek tragedy’
(McDonald 2002: 37). Indeed, Greek tragedy – and mythology
in a broader sense – has cast a powerful spell on the
Irish writer’s imagination: James Joyce’s Ulysses is a
rewriting of Homer’s Odyssey; Seamus Heaney’s
The Cure at Troy is a modern Irish version of
Sophocles’ Philoctetes; Tom Paulin’s The
Riot Act is a Northern Irish translation of Sophocles’
Antigone; Euripides’ Medea and Iphigenia
at Aulis have undergone a complex metamorphosis in
Carr’s By the Bog of Cats… and Ariel
respectively. The list is endless. The main point here
is that Irish writers from Joyce to Carr are able to transcend
the parochial limitations of a strictly national art by
offering a complex fusion of the Irish tradition they
have inherited, and the wider panorama of Greek myth and
world literature. The provincial limitations of the Celtic
Renaissance may be transcended by this complex lacing
of literary traditions, thus allowing the Irish writer
to be both national and international, and to be able
to speak to audiences at home and abroad.
of the most remarkable aspects of Marina Carr’s drama
is her distinctive use of a regional variant of Hiberno-English
spoken in the Irish Midlands. She skilfully portrays the
speech patterns of a linguistic community as part of a
creative endeavour that seeks to represent the accent,
local slang, mannerisms, proverbial expressions, and folklore
of a particular region in rural Ireland. Frank McGuinness
has pertinently referred to Carr’s theatre as a ‘physical
attack on the conventions of syntax, spelling, and sounds
of Standard English’ (McGuinness 1996: ix) and Melissa
Sihra has argued that: ‘Carr’s linguistic inventiveness
refuses standard English, imagining new modes of expression’
(Sihra 2007: 210). It soon becomes clear that a translation
of Carr’s plays must therefore become a recreation, and
that the translator should negotiate a form of writing
that privileges an essentially transformative strategy.
My translation of By the Bog of Cats… (El
pantano de los gatos) aims to rewrite the play in
the variant of Spanish known as River Plate, mainly spoken
in Argentina and Uruguay. The central decision here was
to steer away from translating the play into Standard
Spanish, which is precisely what Carr is resisting in
her ideological endeavour to give voice to Hiberno-English
versus Standard English. It is important to stress, however,
that there is a vast repertoire of Spanish dialects from
Latin America, Africa and even the Iberian Peninsula,
which would have also offered rich and varied alternatives.
In The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American
Fiction, the American critic and translator Suzanne
Jill Levine addresses this specific translation issue
as: ‘Should the translator supplant one local dialect
with another? […] Every translator has a personal version
of what a particular slang sounds like, and of which slang
is a more appropriate substitution’ (Levine 1997: 67).
Levine is saying that no translator could possibly reproduce
the Irish Midlands dialect of the original, but should
rather try to find a speech variety which may recontextualise
the play in an entirely different dialect. For this purpose,
Walter Benjamin’s instructive lesson in his seminal essay
‘The Task of the Translator’ (1923) proves extremely relevant.
He claims that the translation issues form the ‘afterlife’
of the original, as the work of art extends its life through
the redeeming power of the translation, thus embarking
on another stage within its continuing life as it moves
across language, history, and culture (Benjamin 2000:
choice of Spanish dialect stems from the crucial fact
that there is a long-standing tradition of Argentine writers
translating Irish literature into River Plate Spanish.
This genealogy begins with Jorge Luis Borges’s fragmentary
translation of James Joyce’s Ulysses. In 1925
a youthful Borges wrote a pioneering review of Ulysses
and a translation of the last two pages of ‘Penelope’
for the Buenos Aires avant-garde journal Proa.
Borges opened his review of Ulysses with a boastful
declaration: ‘Soy EL PRIMER AVENTURERO (4)
hispánico que ha arribado al libro de Joyce’ (Borges 1993:
23); (‘I am the first traveller from the Hispanic world
to set foot upon the shores of Ulysses’) (Borges
1999: 12). What is implicit in Borges’s emphatic assertion
is not only his belief that he is the first Hispanic explorer
of the epic Ulysses, but also the awareness that he was
touring Joyce’s epic geography for the later enlightenment
of the Spanish-speaking world. The most noteworthy feature
of Borges’s fragmentary rendering of ‘Penelope’ is its
distinctive colloquial tone rich in Argentine diction.
Borges’s decision to present the readers of Proa
with an Argentine-speaking Molly Bloom corresponded to
the literary credo he professed in the 1920s, in which
he advocated a colloquial use of River Plate Spanish (Novillo-Corvalán
2008: 1). In his overt attempt to challenge standard practices
that utilised the Standard Spanish personal pronoun tú
as the customary norm for written texts, Borges instead
decided to employ the River Plate colloquial form vos
in order to give legitimacy to a primarily oral vernacular
(see Borges 1997: 201-2). Two decades later, a similar
translation practice was adopted by fellow Argentine writer
J. Salas Subirat who in 1945 gifted the Hispanic world
with the first complete translation of Ulysses
into Argentine-Spanish. In 1948 the writer Leopoldo Marechal
offered a more radical exercise in translation and rewriting
by transplanting Ulysses from Dublin into the
streets of Buenos Aires and from Hiberno-English into
River Plate Spanish. This fascinating history of the migration
of Ulysses to Argentina, its successive translations
and metamorphosis, cannot but consolidate the reciprocity
between Irish and Argentine writers, and the ever-recurring
dialogue between the literatures of Ireland and Argentina.
Above all, it celebrates a textual space in which two
different cultures, languages, and histories meet and
interact with each other. In this way, Marina Carr’s By
the Bog of Cats… also embarks on a journey to the
Southern Hemisphere, and is reborn in the dialectal variety
of Spanish spoken in Argentina, absorbing its idiosyncratic
linguistic features (yeismo, voseo,
verb conjugation, local slang, and proverbial expressions),
thus offering a rich and distinguishing language on which
to transpose Carr’s play.
aspect of By the Bog of Cats… which presents
further challenges to a translator springs from the fact
that the names of the dramatis personae carry
a wealth of symbolic, evocative, or linguistically playful
associations. Indeed, in By the Bog of Cats…
names are rarely arbitrary and in most cases underscore
a set of values, beliefs, and superstitions which are
deeply rooted in the play’s natural environment. This
onomastic polyvalence cannot be ignored, since the act
of naming offers Carr the possibility not only to interact
with her landscape, but also to summon the multitude of
ghosts that haunt her imagination. This is evident in
inventive names such as Hester Swane, Ghost Fancier, Father
Willow, Black Wing and Catwoman. For example Carr’s heroine,
Hester Swane, is tragically aware of the allegorical significance
of her family name. Her mother, Josie Swane, has imposed
a deadly curse upon her daughter by reading behind the
pun of her name and predicting the exact timing of her
death: ‘‘Swane means swan’ […] ‘That child’, says Josie
Swane, ‘will live as long as this black swan, not a day
more, not a day less’ (Carr 1999: 275). Whereas the translation
of proper names has always been a questionable subject
in translation theory, I decided to recreate Hester’s
family name Swane under the new Spanish version ‘Cisnero’
in order to preserve the pun with ‘swan’, as a Spanish
speaker would easily associate ‘Cisnero’ with the noun
‘cisne’. Another challenge was presented by the suggestive
compound ‘Ghost Fancier’, which results from Carr’s ingenious
merging of two previously unrelated words in the English
language. In this way, ‘Ghost Fancier’ sounds colloquial
and poetical, menacing and humorous. Only Carr’s individual
voice may give birth to such a wondrous creature, an ‘angel
of death’ – as Sternlicht (2001: xvi) puts it – who comes
down to earth to ‘eye up’ ghosts, and whose description
in the stage directions renders him as ‘a handsome creature
in a dress suit’ (Carr 1999: 261), thus arousing feelings
of both fear and affection upon an audience. Whereas the
Ghost Fancier has foreknowledge of Hester’s death and
is thus a mysterious instrument of the inexplicable forces
of Fate, it is still devoid of the evil and malice of
Shakespeare’s weird sisters in Macbeth. In his
characteristic politeness, he apologises to Hester for
getting his timing wrong as he mistakes dawn for dusk
during his first visitation. The complexity of a spectral
presence such as the Ghost Fancier begs for an inventive
translation strategy rather than a word-for-word rendering
which would produce an inadequate result. In this way,
I turned Ghost Fancier into Fantasma Galante, in a recreative
gesture that privileged the imagery of seduction and the
supernatural inherent in the original, as well as the
poetical quality of the name. (5)
Moreover, the expression also allowed a greater play on
meaning as the adjective galante in Spanish carries
an old-fashioned flavour, serving to reinforce the idea
of a galán, a smartly dressed, seductive and
handsome figure who, in Carr’s play, is also a messenger
of Fate who comes to lead Hester into a dance of death.
There is thus a literary quality to the word galán,
in that it may also bring into mind Lope de Vega’s play
El galán de Menbrilla, which was based on the
Spanish popular folk song of the same name, in which the
galán seduces a Spanish maid and takes her away
with him. The Ghost Fancier, then, is reborn on a Hispanic
stage as a complex figure that yields up a range of meanings
and associations, yet still embodies the main features
of Carr’s character.
another compelling aspect of Carr’s drama resides in her
creation of passionate female heroines who have been usually
described as exiled, outcasts and dispossessed, living
a purgatorial existence in the margins of society (Sihra
2007; Russell 2006; Leeney 2004). Neither innocent maidens
nor devoted housewives, Carr’s tempestuous women have
been interpreted as transgressions of the traditional
figure of the virtuous woman in Irish society. ‘Carr’s
disintegrated domestic scene’, writes Melissa Sihra, ‘challenges
the rural idyll fetishized by De Valera in his 1943 address
to the nation ‘whose countryside would be bright with
cosy homesteads [and] the laughter of comely maidens’’
(Sihra 2007: 211). Instead, Carr’s tortured female beings
have more in common with the larger-than-life figures
of Greek tragedy: Medea, Electra, Phaedra, Antigone, hence
dramatising the themes of murder, infanticide, sacrifice,
incest and revenge which loom large in the tragedies of
Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides. Carr’s female personages
also join forces with the emancipated heroines of Ibsen’s
plays: the restless spirits of Hester Swane, Portia Coughlan,
and the Mai could only have been conceived in the wake
of Nora’s controversial door slam in A Doll’s House,
and Hedda Gabler’s discontented married life, manipulative
actions and desperate suicide. The sheer intensity, imaginative
scope, and Hellenistic revival of Carr’s theatre serve
to contradict George Steiner’s fatalistic oracles in The
Death of Tragedy of the gradual decline and eventual
demise of tragedy. In the vastness of her art and the
intensity of her feelings, Marina Carr can prove that
tragedy is as alive in the twenty-first century as it
was in fifth-century Athens.
Pantano de los Gatos
El pantano de los gatos. Un paisaje blanco y desolado
de hielo y nieve. Música, un violín solitario. Ester Cisnero
arrastra el cadáver de un cisne negro por detrás suyo,
dejando un rastro de sangre en la nieve. El Fantasma Galante
se encuentra allí mirándola.
¿Y vos quién sos? No te había visto antes merodeando por
Galante Soy un fantasma galante.
Un fantasma galante. Nunca en mi vida había escuchado
Galante ¿Nunca viste un fantasma?
No exactamente, a veces creí sentir cosas de algún otro
mundo, pero nada a lo que me pudiera aferrar y decir:
‘Eso es un fantasma’.
Galante Bueno, donde hay fantasmas hay fantasmas
¿Es así? ¿Y a qué te dedicás, Señor Fantasma Galante?
¿Andás haciéndole ojito a los fantasmas? ¿Los hacés tus
Galante Depende del fantasma. Hace rato te vengo
siguiendo. ¿Qué hacés arrastrando el cadáver de ese cisne
como si fuera tu propia sombra?
Es el viejo cisne Ala Negra. Lo conozco hace añares. Cuando
era chiquitita solíamos jugar juntos. Una vez me tuve
que ir del Pantano de los Gatos y cuando volví unos años
después este cisne se me apareció brincando por el pantano
para darme la bienvenida, se me tiró encima y me chantó
un beso en la mano. Anoche lo encontré congelado en un
hueco del pantano, lo tuve que arrancar del hielo, perdió
la mitad de su vientre.
Galante ¿Nunca nadie te dijo que es peligroso
meterse con cisnes, especialmente cisnes negros?
Son sólo viejas supersticiones hechas para asustar a la
gente, lo único que quiero es enterrarlo. ¿Qué pensás,
que me van a fulminar por hacerlo?
Galante ¿Vivís en esa casilla rodante?
Vivía, ahora vivo en el callejón de por allá arriba. En
una casa, aunque nunca me sentí muy cómoda ahí. Y vos,
Señor Fantasma Galante, decíme ¿Qué fantasma andás acechando
Galante Ando al acecho de una mujer llamada Ester
Yo soy Ester Cisnero.
Galante No puede ser, estás viva.
Lo estoy y quiero seguir vivita y coleando.
Galante (mira a su alrededor, confundido).
¿Está amaneciendo o atardeciendo?
¿Por qué te interesa saberlo?
Es esa hora que podría ser tanto el amanecer como el atardecer,
la luz es muy parecida. Pero está amaneciendo, mirá como
sale el sol.
Galante Entonces me he adelantado. Confundí esta
hora con el atardecer. Mil disculpas.
empieza a retirar. Ester lo detiene).
¿Qué significa que estás adelantado? De verdá, ¿Quién
Galante Te pido disculpas por haberme entrometido
así en tu vida. No es mi estilo. (Se levanta el sombrero
y se va).
(lo sigue a los gritos). ¡Volvé! No me puedo
morir – tengo una hija
¿Qué es lo que te pasa, Ester? ¿A qué le estás gritando?
¿No lo ves?
No veo a nadie.
No hay nadie, pero vos sabés lo que es este viejo pantano,
siempre cambiando y cambiando y engañando la mirada. ¿Qué
tenés ahí? Che, es Ala Negra ¿qué le pasó?
Vejez, lo apostaría, anoche lo encontré congelado.
(Toca el ala del cisne). Bueno, ya vivió sus buenos
años, ha requete pasado el promedio de vida de un cisne.
Pero vos estás helada, vagando durante toda la noche,
¿no? Te estás buscando la muerte en este clima. Cinco
grados menos de lo que anunciaron en el pronóstico y se
nos viene peor.
Juráme que volvió la edad de hielo. ¿No te hubiera hasta
gustado, que nos borrara a todos del mapa como a los dinosaurios?
La verdá que no – ¿te estás yendo o qué, Ester?
No me sigas preguntando lo mismo.
Vos sabés que las puertas de mi covacha están siempre
No me voy para ningún lado. Acá está mi casa y mi jardín
y mi porción del pantano y nadie me va a sacar a patadas.
Vine a preguntarte si querías que me la lleve a Josefina
Todavía está durmiendo.
Esa criatura, Ester, vos vas a tener que hacerte cargo
de ella, vas a tener que dejar este empecinamiento y rehacer
Total yo no fui la que deshizo todo esto.
Y vos vas a tener que dejar esta casa que ya no es tuya.
Andaba yo el otro día de compras en el pueblo y me la
veo a Carolina Cassidy diciendo cómo iba a tirar abajo
todo esto y construirse una casa toda nuevita.
Carolina Cassidy. Ya me las voy a arreglar con esa. De
todos modos ella ni siquiera es el problema, sólo un mínimo
Bueno, has llegado un poco tarde para arreglar las cosas
con ella, porque ya tiene la mente puesta en todo lo que
Si ese se piensa que me va a poder seguir tratando de
la forma que me ha tratado, se las va a tener que ver
conmigo. A mí no me mandan al carajo cuando a él se le
antoja. Si no fuera por mí, él hoy no sería nadie.
Me imagino que todo el pueblo está enterado.
Y si lo está ¿qué? ¿Por qué se han cruzado todos de brazos,
y dale que cuchichear? Todos piensan que a Ester Cisnero,
con su sangre de gitana, no le toca lo que se merece.
Todos piensan que ella tiene una cierta noción de las
cosas, la que hizo su vida en una casilla al lado del
pantano. Todos piensan que dio un paso adelante por llevarse
a Cartago Kilbride a su cama. Todos piensan que sabían
que eso nunca duraría. Bueno, están equivocados. Cartago
es mío para siempre o hasta que yo decida que no es más
mío. Yo soy la que elige y descarta, no él, y por cierto
ninguno de ustedes. Y no ando con la cola entre las piernas
solo porque cierta gentuza me quiere fuera de su camino.
Ahora estás enojada y no podés pensar claramente.
Si él hubiera vuelto, estaríamos bien. Si sólo pudiera
tenerlo unos días para mi solita, sin nadie metiendo las
narices por donde no se debe.
Ester, él te dejó y no va a volver.
Ah, vos pensás que conocés todo de mí y Cartago. Bueno,
no es así. Hay cosas mías y de Cartago que nadie sabe
excepto nosotros dos. Y no les estoy hablando de amor.
El amor es para los niños y los idiotas. Nuestro lazo
es más fuerte, somos como dos rocas, machacándonos el
uno con el otro y quizá eso nos hace mas unidos.
Esas son cosas que te metés en la cabeza, al tipo ni le
importás, si no ¿por qué anda haciendo lo que hace?
Mi vida no tiene rumbo sin él.
Estás hablando en acertijos.
Cartago sabe de lo que estoy hablando – Supongo que debería
enterrar a Ala Negra antes de que se despierte Josefina
y lo vea (Se empieza a alejar).
Te vendré a ver en un ratito, te traigo el almuerzo, te
ayudo a hacer las valijas.
Acá nadie va a hacer las valijas.
las dos en direcciones opuestas.
I would like to express my gratitude
to Dr Aoife Monks for introducing me to the theatre of
Patricia Novillo-Corvalán is a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Yet as much as theatre translation
becomes an exercise in rewriting that transforms an original
and situates it within a new context, it also aims to
stretch – however slightly – the limits of the target
language through its contact with the original, as well
as to preserve the ‘essence’ of the original.
The upper case is Borges’s.
Marina Carr gave her blessing
to my rendering of Ghost Fancier as Fantasma Galante:
‘I love fantasma galante. It sounds
amazing and captures exactly what the ghost fancier is’
(email correspondence, 20 May 2009).
Benjamin, Walter, ‘The Task of the Translator’, trans.
by Harry Zohn in The Translation Studies Reader,
ed. by Lawrence Venuti (London & New York: Routledge,
Borges, Jorge Luis, Inquisiciones (Buenos Aires:
Seix Barral, 1993).
Textos recobrados, vol. 1 (Buenos Aires: Emecé,
Selected Non-Fictions, ed. by Eliot Weinberger
(New York: Viking, 1999).
Carr, Marina, Plays 1: Low in the Dark, The Mai, Portia
Coughlan, By the Bog of Cats… (London: Faber & Faber,
The Cordelia Dream (London: Faber & Faber, 2008).
Harris, Claudia, ‘Rising Out of the Miasmal Mists: Marina
Carr’s Ireland’ in The Theatre of Marina Carr: ‘before
rules was made’, ed. by Cathy Leeney and Anna McMullan
(Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2003), pp.216-32).
Leeney, Cathy and McMullan Anna, ‘Introduction’ in The
Theatre of Marina Carr: ‘before rules was made’,
(see Harris), pp.xv-xxvii.
Leeney Cathy, ‘Ireland’s ‘exiled’ women playwrights: Teresa
Deevy and Marina Carr’ in The Cambridge Companion
to Twentieth-Century Irish Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2004), pp.150-63).
Levine, Suzanne Jill, The Subversive Scribe: Translating
Latin American Fiction (Saint Paul, Minn: Graywolf
McDonald, Marianne, ‘The Irish and Greek Tragedy’ in Amid
Our Troubles: Irish Versions of Greek Tragedy,
ed. by Marianne McDonald and J. Michael Walton (London:
Methuen, 2002), pp.37-86.
McGuinness, Frank, ‘Introduction’ in The Dazzling
Dark: New Irish Plays: Selected and Introduced by
Frank McGuinness (London: Faber & Faber, 1996), pp.ix-xii.
Novillo-Corvalán, Patricia, ‘Jorge Luis Borges, Translator
of Penelope’, James Joyce Broadsheet 79 (2008),
Richards, Shaun, ‘Plays of (ever) changing Ireland’ in
The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Irish
Drama (see Leeney), pp.1-17.
Russell, Richard, ‘Talking with Ghosts of Irish Playwrights
Past: Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats…, Comparative
Drama 40.2 (2006), 149-68).
Steiner, George, The Death of Tragedy (London:
Faber & Faber, 1961).
Sternlicht, Sanford, ‘Introduction’ in New Plays from
the Abbey Theatre: Volume Two 1996-1998, ed. by Judy
Friel and Sanford Sternlicht (New York: Syracuse University
Press, 2001), pp.ix-xviii.
Sihra, Melissa, ‘Introduction: Figures at the Window’,
in Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and
Representation, ed. by Melissa Sihra, foreword by
Marina Carr (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2007), pp.1-22.
‘The House of Woman and the Plays of Marina Carr’, in
Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and
Representation, ed. by Melissa Sihra (see Sihra),