The Interpreters

Concept & Direction NICOLA GUNN

At the beginning of his presentation, a speaker made a joke through an interpreter and after a few seconds the whole room burst into laughter. He was pleased that finally an audience had appreciated his joke. At the end of the meeting he said to the interpreter, “You know, I’ve made this joke several times in lots of different countries, but usually no one laughs. You must be a very good interpreter. I wonder how you managed to translate it?” The interpreter replied, “I simply said: he has made a joke, please laugh.”

The confrontation of language underlies so many of the problems which we can pose concerning human beings. To be performed in multiple languages, this is a work about the act of interpreting, about changing words into meaning and back again. This new work hopes to untangle and retangle language to understand the part it plays in our culture and our education system.


Originally commissioned by Field Theory as part of Site is Set and supported by Alliance Française Melbourne. A first development of this work was made in collaboration with Mehdi Khallouk, Luke King and Fay Muir.
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