Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


Polonius Returns From The Grave

August 2, 2011 by Richard Wright in Journal, News, Writing

Speaking of blasts from the past*, in 1996 I didn’t write a play. It’s called Polonius. Fortunately for the play, while I was busy not writing it, Romanian playwright Victor Cilinca was.

In 1999, a lecturer called Petru Iamandi translated the text into English. In order to put a final, native speaker’s polish on the translation, I got involved to help with the final draft. Not much happened to it after that, and eleven years on I’d more or less forgotten all about it (in fact, Petru contacted me a while back to prod me into putting it in my website biblipography, because it had completely slipped my mind). A couple of days ago, he got in touch again, but this time to tell me that that the translated play will be published later this year by Wildside Press in the USA (the above is not the cover, as far as I know, but it’s the only image relevant to the original play that Google can find for me).

It just goes to show that nothing you put on the page can ever be considered entirely dead.

I’m delighted this particular piece has pushed its way back up though the metaphorical topsoil. This isn’t so much because of my input (while Petru credits me as a joint translator, I tend to think of myself more as a last stage copy-editor), but because Cilinca’s play has real merit. It’s a political farce, a black comedy set during the events of Hamlet, in a world of servitude where Polonius himself is king. As far as I know, it’s never been performed in English. I’d like to think that its publication might bring that a step closer to happening.

More as it happens, and when it’s published I’ll point you in the right direction. I know there are several theatre types who drop by here every now and again. I hope you might check it out, with half an eye on how it might live and breathe in an English-speaking premiere somewhere in the world…


* I know, we weren’t, but it saves me inventing a pithy opener…

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  1. Petru IamandiAugust 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    The editor has just told me Polonius is the best translation I’ve submitted to Wildside Press so you don’t need to be that modest, Richard!

  2. Richard WrightAugust 9, 2011 at 3:37 pmAuthor

    You’re a gent.

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