The Linguist

The Linguist 56,3 – June/July 2017

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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8 The Linguist Vol/56 No/3 2017 FEATURES Arne Pohlmeier: From the beginning of this process Margherita wanted to experiment with the idea of foreignisation across the board – from choice of text to acting styles, to casting, to set, to sound, as well as, of course, translation. The idea is to never slip into an area of comfort with regard to the kind of work we might or might not be used to doing. So there's an implicit interrogation of otherness in this work in the way that we bring ourselves to the text, as well as the work we do in the rehearsal room. Flora Pitrolo: Lease and Mancewicz state in their introduction to the play's translation [Cue Press, 2016], that Lachmann's text is "already foreign to itself": as a post-dramatic, autobiographical rendering of Hamlet spun through its author's personal vicissitudes, it deals with the complexities of being and not being on a number of levels. Tonderai, in your quest to bring yourselves to the complexities of the text you have spoken about integrating Shona, your mother tongue, into the script. Can you tell me more about this? Tonderai Munyevu: Arne wanted us to improvise the final scene in Shona, rather than in English, and I was reluctant to do that. Partly because it's complicated for me to live-translate, although it's my native language. But especially because I question Arne's perception that if you're speaking in your native language you're somehow being truer to yourself. AP: For me, using another language in rehearsal or improvisation is a way to access another layer, and it's something we've done often in the past. But it's delicate: suddenly you're in a position where you're performing ethnicity, culture or otherness in a way that isn't necessarily comfortable. FP: This question is fundamental to Lachmann's text. The play's heart is in the author's childhood in the Silesian town of Gliwice in the 1940s, which was German and subsequently became Polish. In the play's final moments, the character 'HE' says: "My language changed, my brain switched to a different vision of the world." How important is the theme of personal transformation to you? Kudzi Hudson: For me, this text is about the structures we build around ourselves that aren't tangible but that nevertheless trap us: language is one of them; nation, social roles and mores. And within this, my character, 'SHE', is always transitioning between different worlds. She constantly speaks from different times and places and with different voices, and as an actor I'm enjoying the challenge of this continuous shift in perspective. FP: And how do you go about dealing with those things as performers? TM: We're taking the principles of this idea of 'foreignisation' and translating them once more to the audience. So our process now is about asking how we come to this, where we take it, and how we take our audience with us. I'm personally obsessed with interrogating what this text is today, right here and right now, in this political and cultural space. FP: How has your relationship with the text changed in the eight months since the first reading? AP: Part of this work has been about jostling for a position: being new entrants in a cultural "I question the perception that if you're speaking in your native language you're being truer to yourself " COMMUNICATING DIFFERENCE Tonderai Munyevu and Kudzi Hudson in the V&A performance (below and bottom left); and in rehearsal (top left) IMAGES © JAMIE SMITH

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