Header menu link for other important links
Negotiating difference: Contemporary Bengali representations of When We Dead Awaken and The Wild Duck in Bengal
Published in -
Volume: 2
Issue: 1
Pages: 63 - 68
This article concentrates on two recent Bengali productions of Ibsen: When We Dead Awaken (Punorujjibon-new life) and The Wild Duck. (Dulali-literally, daughter, here the name of the wild duck; hence the identification with Hedvig is made). Both were first produced in 2006. For the source material for this article I had to depend on the director's scripts since the translated and adapted texts are not available in print. I must acknowledge my debt to the respective directors, Amalesh Chakraborti and Suranjana Dasgupta for access to the scripts and for enabling me to watch the performances. The first is more or less a faithful translation while the second is a condensed adaptation which is also an interesting excursion into the intra-cultural. The negotiation of sociocultural differences through strategies of intercultural theatre will be the thrust of the discourse. Although Amalesh Chakraborty the translator-director of When We Dead Awaken is more or less faithful to the original English text the nuances of the poetic rhythm of the Bengali language naturally creates differences that are inevitable. Moreover there is the added responsibility of making the Bengali version stage worthy and socioculturally acceptable to an "other" culture. "Playability" and "speakability", or rather a "playable speakability" are important criteria of drama translation. 1 He has, "out of practical necessity", edited and omitted certain passages and scenes. One of the main reasons for the director to keep to the original Ibsen is because he felt that the characters, especially a knife-wielding Irene may not be acceptable to a Bengali audience. The problem could perhaps be solved by trying to maintain the western ambience. Also the artist-model relationship as problematized in Ibsen is alien to Indian middle-class reality. Hence a transcultural production has been attempted. The irony is however that he has effected a major change through the mise en scène of the conclusion and his approach to the figure of the Deaconess. Such changes are perhaps aimed to inscribe a foreign play into the Indian cultural context and introduce a free and alternate readability in an otherwise faithful translation.
About the journal
JournalForum for World Literature Studies