Theatre in Translation Vol 1 is the culmination of an exchange between two different cultures and countries – South Africa and Argentina. Five plays from Argentina and five plays from South Africa, all of them finalists in Proyecto 34°S‘ annual Theatre in Translation Prize are featured in the book.
According to Nikki Froneman, Proyecto 34°S looked for plays with strong written texts. The translation aspect of the project was intense, where several translators might work on one play and confer on various aspects over time.
“At one point we thought about how to translate the name of a town that had a lot of meaning in Afrikaans, but that might lose its subtlety and humour when translated to Spanish for example,” Froneman told Books LIVE. “We had many discussions like that, where we were very careful to try not to lose the nuances of each language. With some plays we were translating from the Afrikaans, to English. And then from English to Spanish. It was quite a task, but we made it through and are so happy with the results.”
From this, we can assume it made the process very interesting and involved quite a bit of banter over linguistics. Theatre in South Africa is strong, but there has been the question of translating works into not only national languages, but international ones so that South African playwrights can not only reach broader audiences, but also have access to the thoughts and works of contemporaries from other parts of the world. Froneman says she believes this is one of the best steps to take towards that end. The five South African playwrights in the collection are Mike van Graan (2012 Theatre in Translation Prize winner for Green Man Flashing), Julian de Wette, Peter Hayes, Megan Furniss and Nicola Hanekom.
On Wednesday 2nd May, Cape Town theatre personalities, writers, diplomats and invited guests gathered at Magnet Theatre, Observatory to recognise the South African winners of the inaugural Theatre in Translation initiative organised by Proyecto 34°S. Proyecto 34°S is an independent organisation that produces festivals and projects with a focus on contemporary performing arts and active artistic exchange and contact between the diverse peoples and cultures of Africa and Latin America. Its activities aim to foster creative relationships and dialogue between artists and audiences, as well as artistic appreciation, social consciousness and cultural understanding.
The Theatre in Translation project aims to encourage the exchange and appreciation of written theatre plays from Africa and Latin America, recognising and rewarding quality, originality and cultural diversity whilst also bridging the language gap through means of translation and actively promoting and ensuring access to the selected plays by local and international readers.
In 2011, South African and Argentine playwrights were invited to submit written plays, in any of the national languages of these two countries, for consideration by the judging panel. Ten semifinalist plays were chosen from each country and their collected 900 pages were translated by some 50 volunteer translators, from ten countries, into English and Spanish.
These plays are all available for free download in English and Spanish from the Proyecto 34ºS online library at http://www.proyecto34s.com/library/index.html Also, the five finalist plays from each country, ten in total, have been published in English as Theatre in Translation Vol. I: Ten plays from Argentina and South Africa. The book is available through Proyecto 34°S and orders have already been received from as far afield as Canada. In the future, Proyecto 34°S will continue this project with different countries in Africa and Latin America.
Proyecto 34°S is now working closely with the SA Embassy in Argentina, with South African ambassador Tony Leon, to produce the winning SA play, Green Man Flashing by Mike van Graan, in Spanish, with an Argentine cast. The production is planned to premier in November 2012 in Buenos Aires. The winning Argentine play, Cooking with Elisa by Lucía Laragione, will be produced in South Africa, in English with a local cast, in 2013.
- Theatre in Translation Vol I by Proyecto 34°S
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