Spring 2018

Past Events

June 17, 2018


The Lantern
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.
New York, NY 10027


Left to right, international playwrights N. Riantiarno (Indonesia), Raeda Taha (Palestine), and Rinat Tashimov (Russia)

How Did This Play Get into English?


Translating for the stage is a special skill, and sometimes plays pass through several hands on their way from their original language (such as Arabic, Indonesian, or Russian) into English. In this brief conversation, Bela Shayevich (translator of Shaitan Lake by Rinat Tashimov), Cobina Gillitt (Indonesian theater translator and dramaturg), and Mais Taha (who oversees the translation of Raeda Taha’s plays) will speak about the challenges of bringing each of the Festival’s three plays into English. Moderated by Susan Bernofsky, Writing.


Sponsored by the Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program/Literary Translation at Columbia.


About the participants


Cobina Gillitt is a scholar, dramaturg, and translator of Indonesian plays, several of which appear in her edited anthology Islands of Imagination: Modern Indonesian Plays (Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2015), which also includes Barbara Hatley’s translation of Time Bomb by N. Riantiarno. She teaches in the Theatre and Performance Program at SUNY Purchase.


Bela Shayevich is a Soviet-American translator, writer, and artist. Her translation of Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s Second-Hand Time was awarded the 2018 First Translation Prize by the Translators Association (Society of Authors) in the UK.


Mais Taha is the production and tour manager for Raeda Taha’s monodramas Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali? and 36 Abbas Street, Haifa. A certified Image Consultant, her design credits include the first Palestinian passport as well as commissions from Saatchi and Saatchi and the World Bank.


About the International Play Reading Festival


Organized by Dean Carol Becker and David Henry Hwang, the Inaugural Columbia University School of the Arts International Play Reading Festival will present readings of three plays by living international playwrights that were not originally written in English:  


Time BombN. Riantiarno (Indonesia)

Shaitan LakeRinat Tashminov (Russia)

Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali?Raeda Taha (Palestine)


The goal of the festival is to expand contemporary American understanding of theatre beyond that of English-speaking countries, and to present new theatrical voices to US audiences.


Return to full festival schedule

Cobina Gillitt

Mais Taha