The Theatre of Sabina Berman: The Agony of Ecstasy and Other Plays introduces and makes accessible to an English-speaking audience the work of the contemporary Mexican playwright Sabina Berman. The book contains translations of the four plays that established Berman’ s career: The Agony of Ecstasy, Yankee, Puzzle, and Heresy. An introduction by Adam Versé nyi provides a critical assessment of each play, a discussion of the specific problems of translation involved, and placement of Berman’ s work in the larger Mexican and Latin American context.
It is evident that Sabina Berman’ s theatrical acumen matches the depth of her dramatic design whether it is the sheer variety of techniques from song to staged tableau that appear in The Agony of Ecstasy; the physicalization of what it means to be interrogated and to interrogate in Yankee; the final enigmatic image of a soldier alone on stage, silently aiming his firearm at an undefined threat that potentially emanates from the audience in Puzzle; or the manner in which the family narrates its own “ heretical” actions in Heresy. It is the combination of theatrical technique with universal themes of self-definition that cuts across cultures and ultimately makes these plays translatable.