The Interpreters – in development (2022–2024)

The Interpreters takes as its subject the dramaturgy of translation and the act of interpretation to think about language as sound and words as images. Presented in three separate instalments that shift the audience experience and play with displacement of text and image, The Interpreters begins in 2022 with Part 1: She always wanted to be a French actress.

Part 1: She always wanted to be a French actress

In Part 1: She always wanted to be a French actress, Nicola Gunn meets real-life translator Séverine Magois to discuss the French translation of a story she has written. Questions of context and questions of meaning anchor a conversation that opens up into digressions on beauty, guilt, on making apologies and invisibility, making visible our unique relationship to the language we speak (our proverbial mother tongue) and how much a translator puts of themselve into the translation simply by the words they choose.

Part 1 is a feeling–listening 3D ambisonic sound experience, performed almost entirely in the dark.

Written by NICOLA GUNN with SÉVERINE MAGOIS
Concept, Composition and Direction by NICOLA GUNN
Sound Composition and Design by THOROLF THUESTAD
Stage Design by CRISTIAN STEFANESCU
Lighting Design by EMMA VALENTE

Part 2: Our fights will be in one of the pieces

A narrative revolves around a conversation between two people who speak different languages mediated by an interpreter through English. Oscillating power dynamics, misrepresentation and miscommunication are heightened by the fact a complaint must be heard and acted upon. Here the translating of words and complaint together constitute a double act of interpretation, as the complaint itself is subject to the vagaries of the translation process. Written in English to be then partially translated into French and Japanese, a second meta-narrative zooms in on the gap that opens up between languages in the moment of translation. This conceptual framework allows the audience to ‘see and hear the thinking’ (the translator’s process, her questions, her dilemma) and the ethics of interpretation (what is it to have someone be your voice?) to reveal the instability of language and the act of translation as inherently political, reinforcing or resisting unequal power structures.

Written by NICOLA GUNN with SÉVERINE MAGOIS and HELEN O’HORAN
Concept, Composition and Direction by NICOLA GUNN
Sound Composition by DUANE MORRISON
Stage Design by CRISTIAN STEFANESCU
Lighting Design and Dramaturgy by EMMA VALENTE
Media Design and Sound Engineering by NICK ROUX



Part 3: Love and change are the major themes

Coming in 2024


The Interpreters, Part 1 supported by Arts Centre Melbourne, Playking Foundation, AsiaTOPA, Norsk Kulturrådet, Fond for Lyd og Bilde and Bergen Kommune. Additional project support from Carte Blanche, BEK, KMD and Bergen Dansesenter. Co-produced by BIT Teatergarasjen, Black Box Teater and Rosendal Teater. The Interpreters, Part 2 supported by Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Centre Melbourne, Playking Foundation, and AsiaTOPA. Co-produced by BIT Teatergarasjen and Rosendal Teater.