The Interpreters, part 1

The Interpreters Parts 1 – 3 takes as its subject the dramaturgy of translation and the act of interpretation to think about worlds within words and the question of context. Presented in three separate instalments that each shift the audience imagination and play with displacement of text, image and experience (and the absence and presence of context), The Interpreters begins in 2022 with She always wanted to be a French actress.

Language as sound, words as images.

In She always wanted to be a French actress, Nicola Gunn pieces together fragments of text from hours of recorded dialogue with real-life French translator Séverine Magois to create an entirely reconstituted conversation, anchored by the task of translating English into French. Questions of context and questions of meaning open up the conversation into personal digressions, making visible our unique relationship to the language we speak (our proverbial mother tongue) and how much a translator puts of themself into the translation simply by the words they choose.

Using 3D ambisonics, the work is presented as a 24-channel sound performance – a sensorial environment and cinematic experience in almost complete black-out. Through listening, it is the audience who perform the evocation of images in their mind. The curiosity in this format is the gap between multiple realities and subjectivities, similar to the gap between two languages when you are translating a word, and the possibilities that space can produce.

Part led by the sound composition, which allows the audience to navigate the physical space of a conversation – on the move, in a car, the opening tinkle of a shop door, a nighttime walk in Maine, permeated intermittently by song, always threatening to be a concert – and the sensual environment of the scenography, the audience are invited to consider this question ‘what can a space produce?’ for themselves.

“One of my immediate thoughts regarding this piece is this idea that we are our own interpreters. That we spend our whole lives trying to interpret our thoughts and put them into action… And how many of our interactions with other people are about us attempting to translate ourselves to each other and the space, or spaces, that occur in the process…”

Concept, Direction and Composition NICOLA GUNN
Sound Composition and Ambisonic Configuration THOROLF THUESTAD

Co-produced by BIT-Teatergarasjen, Black Box Teater and Rosendal Teater. Funded by Norsk Kulturrådet, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, Bergen Kommune and AsiaTOPA Festival through the Playking Foundation. Residency support from Carte Blanche, BEK (Bergen Elektronik Kunstsenter) and KMD (Kunst Musik Design).