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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: November 2009

After translation


First and foremost, the problematic of translation is the allocation of the foreign.

Sakai Naoki


Asian Shakespeare productions typically create an 'intercultural' action by introducing a gap between the verbal and embodied dimensions of the performance. As distinct from the older, looser notion of adaptation, intercultural performance strategies reflexively emphasize and capitalize upon the differences between the disparate cultural systems of theatre forms. In these stage encounters between cultures, Asian theatres have played a central role, and the classical forms in particular offer striking opportunities for juxtaposing their formalized conventions of music, singing, gesture, dance, costume and make-up, as well as their cultural and aesthetic foundations, against Western theatre conventions. By comparison with many theatre forms in Asian cultures, Shakespeare presents an exorbitantly word-heavy theatrical idiom. When the RSC King Lear played in Singapore recently with Ian McKellen in the title role, I was conscious of hearing the language as a startling, ringing dimension of a foreign culture, quite unlike how it sounds to me in London or Stratford-upon-Avon, simply because I was watching the performance within a community to whom it would not just be an archaic form of English but a culturally alien mode of performance.

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