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How do the artists of Play On Shakespeare approach the delicate and nuanced task of translating The Bard’s plays into modern verse? While each playwright and dramaturg brings their individual sensibilities and artistry to the process, they are committed to keeping the integrity of Shakespeare’s masterpieces intact.

Rule number one is that our artists do no harm. We keep the language that doesn’t need translating in place. We stay true to the story, the characters and the time period. What’s not inserted are personal politics, regionalisms, or unnecessary editing. Shakespeare’s compressed and poetic language is respected and preserved.

Most importantly, the language of these translations retains the same kind of rigor and pressure as the original, with a keen eye to rhyme, meter, image and metaphors. We are not in the business of simply crossing out words and finding replacements. Or toning down the complexity and sophistication of Shakespeare’s voice. Every phrase, every line, every scene is translated in the broader context of meaning, intent and beauty. This allows actors to understand and embody their characters more readily. For directors to create more confidently. And for students and audiences to navigate the stories without getting lost in the language.


“Lillian Gorag’s translation of Troilus and Cressida was one of the great theatrical experiences in Prague Shakespeare Company’s history. Her insight into this extremely complex play and the legendary characters Shakespeare portrays elevated the production to a new level of understanding, especially for today’s audiences. It was an absolute joy working with Lillian and Lue and the Play On team and we look forward to producing more Play On scripts.”

Guy Roberts, Artistic Director, Prague Shakespeare Company


Experience a side by side comparison of Pericles, Act 1, Scene 2, as originally written by Shakespeare, and as translated into modern verse by Ellen McLaughlin.