1st Edition

Adapting Translation for the Stage

By Geraldine Brodie, Emma Cole Copyright 2017
    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    Translating for performance is a difficult – and hotly contested – activity.

    Adapting Translation for the Stage presents a sustained dialogue between scholars, actors, directors, writers, and those working across these boundaries, exploring common themes and issues encountered when writing, staging, and researching translated works. It is organised into four parts, each reflecting on a theatrical genre where translation is regularly practised:

    • The Role of Translation in Rewriting Naturalist Theatre

    • Adapting Classical Drama at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

    • Translocating Political Activism in Contemporary Theatre

    • Modernist Narratives of Translation in Performance

    A range of case studies from the National Theatre’s Medea to The Gate Theatre’s Dances of Death and Emily Mann’s The House of Bernarda Alba shed new light on the creative processes inherent in translating for the theatre, destabilising the literal/performable binary to suggest that adaptation and translation can – and do – coexist on stage.

    Chronicling the many possible intersections between translation theory and practice, Adapting Translation for the Stage offers a unique exploration of the processes of translating, adapting, and relocating work for the theatre.

    Foreword – Christopher Haydon

    1. Introduction – Geraldine Brodie and Emma Cole

    2. Section 1: The Role of Translation in Rewriting Naturalist Theatre

    3. Critical Introduction: The Revolution of the Human Spirit - May-Brit Akerholt

    4. Total Translation: Approaching an Adaptation of Strindberg’s The Dance of Death Parts One and Two – Tom Littler

    5. Doctors Talking to Doctors in Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi (1912) - Judith Beniston

    6. An Antidote to Ibsen? British Responses to Chekhov and the Legacy of Naturalism - Philip Ross Bullock

    7. The Translation Trance: Naturalism and Strindberg’s Dance of Death [transcript of a talk given at the Theatre Translation Forum] - Howard Brenton

    8. Section 2: Adapting Classical Drama at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

    9. Critical Introduction: Adapting the Classics: Pall-bearers, Mourners, and Resurrectionists - Jane Montgomery Griffiths

    10. Hecuba, Queen of What? – Caroline Bird

    11. Paralinguistic Translation in Contemporary Theatre: Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love – Emma Cole

    12. Forces at Work: Euripides’ Medea at the National Theatre 2014 – Lucy Jackson

    13. Translation and/in Performance: My Experiments – Mary-Kay Gamel

    14. Section 3: Translocating Political Activism in Contemporary Theatre

    15. Critical Introduction: The Critical and Cultural Faultlines of Translation/Adaptation in Contemporary Theatre - Jean Graham-Jones

    16. Handling ‘Paulmann’s Dick’: Translating Audience and Character Recognition in Contemporary Theatre – William Gregory

    17. Wilhelm Genazino’s Lieber Gott mach mich blind and the proportions of translation – Thomas Wilks

    18. Domestication as a political act: The case of Gavin Richards’ translation of Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist – Marta Niccolai

    19. Theatrical Translation/Theatrical Production: Ramón Griffero’s Pre-Texts for Performance - Adam Versényi

    20. Section 4: Modernist Narratives of Translation in Performance

    21. Critical Introduction: The Roaming Art - Tanya Ronder

    22. Pinning down Piñera - Gráinne Byrne and Kate Eaton

    23. Translating sicilianità in Pirandell’s dialect play Liolà - Enza De Francisci

    24. Narratives of Translation in Performance: Collaborative Acts - David Johnston

    25. How to Solve a Problem like Lorca: Anthony Weigh’s Yerma - Gareth Wood

    26. Multiple Roles and Shifting Translations [transcript of Emily Mann in conversation with the editors] – Emily Mann

    27. Afterword

    28. Adapting – and Accessing – Translation for the Stage – Eva Espasa



    Geraldine Brodie (University College London) lectures, researches and writes about theatre translation practices in contemporary London. Recent publications include a special issue of the Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance on Martin Crimp (2016) and her forthcoming book The Translator on Stage.

    Emma Cole (Bristol University) lectures, researches, and writes about the reception of Greek and Roman literature in contemporary theatre. She has published on classical performance reception and the work of Katie Mitchell (2015) and Martin Crimp (2016), and has a forthcoming monograph titled Postdramatic Tragedies.

    - Zackary Ross, Theatre Survey ‘Brodie and Cole’s book is comprehensive in its scope and provides a valuable and detailed look into many of the theoretical, ethical, and practical implications of staging translation in contemporary theatre’

    - Maria Delgado, Times Higher ‘In this timely collection of essays, theatre offers a valuable site for wider debates on the politics and crafting of translation. Valuable interdisciplinary dialogues between translators, directors, classicists and literary scholars prise apart problematic distinction between theory and practice.’