I hadn’t been meaning to write about the Zeitgeist Festival – which presents staged readings of the work of younger playwrights from the German-speaking countries Austria, Germany and Switzerland – since the festival’s materials exclude the names of the translators who brought us these plays being presented in English. But now I see that one of the plays was in fact translated by 2011 PEN Translation Fund recipient Neil Blackadder, who received that award for his skillful Englishing of a play by Swiss playwright Lukas Bärfuss. This time Blackadder, a Professor of Theater at Knox College, has turned his attention to Grillenparz (Chirping Hill), a play by Thomas Arzt of Austria. The description sounds great:
The ‘Grillenparz’ is a hill where once every summer the employees have a special party – a chance to get back to nature and let their hair down. But last year things got out of hand. What exactly happened, and how will it affect this year’s gathering, to which important potential investors from overseas have been invited? All will be revealed, and commented on in song by a chorus of crickets.
The staged reading of Chirping Hill, directed by Jeremy Bloom and sponsored by Soho Rep and the Austrian Cultural Forum, will be presented at 7:00 p.m. at the Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building on East 3rd Street. For more information on this and the other plays included in the festival, consult the Zeitgeist tumblr. Free admission, but RSVPs are recommended.