Translating Performance

Sat May 11 2024 at 12:00 pm to 02:00 pm

Bramble Arts Loft | Chicago

Translators' Adda
Publisher/HostTranslators' Adda
Translating Performance
Translators’ Adda is a workshop series where we discuss texts from South Asia, touching on themes of caste, sexuality, and politics.
About this Event

Translators’ Adda is a workshop series where we discuss translated texts from South Asia. An Adda in several South Asian vernaculars refers to a gathering of friends talking, laughing, and debating ideas over several cups of chai. Our series provides a forum to discuss the day-to-day politics of language, culture, migration, and translation.

For our next session, join us for a rehearsed reading of Sri Vamsi Matta’s play Star in the Sky, followed by a moderated discussion with Tony-nominated songwriter and dramatist Masi Asare.

Adapted from Dr. M. Suguna Rao’s Telugu short story ‘Aakasam lo Oka Nakshatram’, the play relays the life and death of Rohith Vemula, a prominent Ambedkarite activist and scholar. Blending myth, memory and politics, the play offers a magical realist twist to the state of contemporary caste politics and higher education in India. Can you survive in institutions that are designed to exclude you? Why is performance an important medium to express grief, trauma, and resistance? How does performance travel across time, space, and language to find new audiences? We will answer these questions while attempting live translations, singing together, and eating delicious food. Participants will receive translated excerpts from the play, and are strongly encouraged to come with questions, observations, and concerns for the facilitators.

No expertise in translation or any South Asian language is required. Light refreshments will be served. 

*Register through EventBrite to receive a copy of the texts. Limited Seats available*


Sri Vamsi Matta, or simply Vamsi, is a theater actor, writer, and director based in Bangalore. His performance practice is influenced by his Dalit identity and often explores questions of caste, food, and religion. He was awarded the “Refunction 2022” grant by the Goethe Institute, Delhi. He received the First Runner-up prize at the Tata Lit Fest: Sultan Padamsee Award 2022 for his debut play, Star in the Sky. He is currently an Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where he is affiliated with the Division of Arts and Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.

The session will be moderated by Masi Asare, a composer, playwright, voice teacher and performance scholar at Northwestern University. She has composed or written lyrics for Broadway musicals like Lisa Peterson’s Odyssey and Mira Nair’s Monsoon Weddings. She was nominated for a Tony award for her work on Paradise Square (Best Score). Her book, Blues Mamas and Broadway Belters: Black Women, Voice, and the Musical Stage, is forthcoming from Duke University Press.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Bramble Arts Loft, 5545 North Clark Street, Chicago, United States


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