Marking the first time in seven years that Theatre503 have programmed a play in translation, 2019 will kick off with the English-language premiere of the multi-award winning Cuzco which explores intimacy in a globalised world. A revelation about the clash of colonial histories and commercialised contemporary tourism, Cuzco is written by Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez, winner of the Best New Playwright Premio Max, Spain’s foremost theatre awards. It has been translated in collaboration with William Gregory who has worked on productions for international projects at the Royal Court Theatre and The Gate.
Set along the Inca Trail, Cuzco is a sharp contemporary portrait of a Spanish couple increasingly lost to one another. In a bid to save their relationship, they travel to South America to find escape and reinvigoration in Cuzco, the conquistador stronghold, Inca city of the puma and tourist paradise. Their tragic love story unravels as they journey towards Macchu Picchu haunted by their own desires and the ghosts of Spain’s colonial past.
Kate O’Connor (Frozen Light; Researcher, Minefield; JMK Finalist) directs the UK premiere from one of Spain’s most acclaimed young playwrights. The two-hander stars Gareth Kieran Jones (Jubilee, Royal Exchange and Lyric Hammersmith; Pony Boy Curtis, The Yard Theatre; The Sea Plays, Old Vic Tunnels) and Dilek Rose (Twist, UK tour; The 24 Hour Plays, The Old Vic; Contractions, Trafalgar Studios).
A play about nationality, colonialism and language, the translation of Cuzco was born out of a meeting between playwright and translator in Madrid in 2016, and their close collaboration ever since. William Gregory’s translation retains the poetry, passion and playfulness of the Spanish original while opening up new resonances for English-speaking audiences. He will continue to play a central role in rehearsals, providing insights for the actors and director from his research and translation process, helping to deepen their understanding to create a profound and compelling cross-cultural experience for audiences in London.
Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez comments, When you travel, you often see yourself reflected in the country you visit. I wanted to talk about relationships, about the idea of Spain when you’re in a place like Cuzco. About all of these things, because it’s from a distance that we can best speak about ourselves. I’m engaging with the present and with how society, politics and the economy affect our sense of self and our most intimate relationships.
Kate O’Connor adds, We’re so proud to be bringing Cuzco to a UK audience for the first time with the English-language premiere at Theatre503. Víctor is a writer with a unique and incisive vision of our generation; through this strange and compelling story of heartbreak he is asking questions about what it means to live in today’s globalised world, and whether we can ever truly connect with one another under these conditions. At the core of this project is the work of our translator whose collaboration with writer, creative team and new writing powerhouse Theatre503 will turn this production into an opportunity for cultural exchange, something that couldn’t be more crucial at this moment in the UK.
This production emerged from the work of Out of the Wings collective, based at King’s College London. Cuzco is supported by Acción Cultural Española, Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants, Cervantes Institute and Ibérica restaurants.
Cuzco is at Theatre503 23rd January to 16th February 2019.
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