Theatre translation is in fact one of the most complex types of translation and involves a delicate balance between translational accuracy and performativity. This essay, however, doesn’t focus on theoretical issues but investigates my role as translator of texts written by Jan Fabre himself of by other authors who worked with him, like Jeroen Olyslagers en Johan de Boose. The theatre of Fabre is mostly described as intensely corporeal. The accentuation of physicality of language is one of the fundamental characteristics of the contemporary theatre landscape. The fascinating struggle between body and language offers Fabre the possibility to create a new theatrical language and to give the word a well-considered functional place next to other parameters as dance, music, opera, performance elements and improvisation. Particularly interesting is the way in which he deals with the Greek tragedy. Sophocles’ verses for instance are emaciated, the performers as it were spit out words or fragments, the text is materialized into a physical sound, the pain of the verses can be pushed out of the body through stutters. The translator’s challenge is to render the rhythm of these texts that tend to mix formal and informal registers, a language with intellectual pretension with a trivial language. The essay also analyses the role of dialect as the language of concreteness and difference. At the end of the paper, some fragments of Jan Fabre’s Night Diaries help to illustrate his thinking on theatre.


Franco Paris è professore associato di Lingua e Letteratura Nederlandese all’Orientale di Napoli. Ha tenuto corsi e seminari nelle università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Lovanio-Anversa, Nijmegen e Utrecht. Si occupa prevalentemente di poesia e teatro seicenteschi e contemporanei e di Translation Studies. Ha pubblicato sulla mistica medioevale nederlandese, su Bredero, Haasse, Claus, Van Ostaijen, D’Annunzio, Huizinga, Pasolini, Fabre. Come traduttore dal nederlandese e dall’inglese ha tradotto opere tra l’altro di Gibran, Gandhi, Ruusbroec, Van Eeden, Huizinga, Haasse, Claus, Grunberg, Westerman, Fabre e Van Reybrouck. Dal 2008 è membro onorario straniero della Reale Accademia Belga delle Lettere Nederlandesi di Gand e dal 2011 è nel comitato scientifico della serie di monografie “Lage Landen Studies” presso l’Academia Press di Gand.


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