Archive for the ‘Shakespeare’ Category

Theatre in translation: A-beng does the Bard

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

ShakespeareAn article in the magazine New Taiwan (新台灣) reports the localisation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by a theatre troupe in Tainan. This is notable for two points – the first is that the language being used is ‘street’ Taiwanese, not Mandarin and not formal Taiwanese (which only a few academics and poets are intimate with nowadays) – this is a progression from the practice of interpreting Shakespeare in language equivalent to 17th century English.


Quick loose translation:

Apart from the benefits of using everyday Taiwanese to represent a more heartfelt and moving drama, director Lu Peh-chhun believes that the cadences and vocabulary of Taiwanese offer a greater range than Mandarin, enabling a more exquisite rendering of Shakespeare’s works of art.

The second point of interest is that the names of the characters and the locales have also been adapted to be more familiar to local audiences. Actors from Malaysia (where Penang Hokkien, a close relative of Taiwanese is spoken) are appearing alongside Taiwanese thespians – for more details see the article entitled The Little Theatre Boldly Bringing Taiwanese Shakespeare to Life (Mandarin Chinese).