Tuesday 23rd of July 2024


From oral narratives to surtitling: the trajectories of women’s war memories across modes and cultures


Chiara Degano – Università degli Studi di Roma Tre

Donatella Codonesu – KIT Italia/OnStage! Festival pdf_icon_30x30

chiara.degano(at)uniroma3.it, d.codonesu(at)gmail.com

Abstract: This paper explores orality across the different stages of the creation and translation of a piece of documentary theatre – In Their Footsteps (Adelman/Teaford 2018) – originated from interviews to five women who served in the US army during the Vietnam War.  The oral histories were transformed by the authors into a script, using, as far as possible, the very words uttered by the five women (hence falling under the rubric of ‘verbatim theatre’) but editing them to construct coherent ‘scenes’ in which the single memories become interwoven in collaborative storytelling. Finally, the piece has been translated in Italian within the frame of the OnStage! Festival, with the translation serving as an intermediate step towards surtitling, which represents the actual target text. Drawing on the categories of conversational narrative and storytelling (Norrick 2000), the analysis will consider how orality has been maintained throughout these ‘translation’ steps, starting from the passage from the interviews to the scripts, and then in the English-to-Italian translation. Finally, the focus will shift to the adaptation for the surtitling, where the text is written-to-be-read as action is going on the stage, to support fruition of a foreign language performance.


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