Hedda, the class

Rohert Day'idMacDonald has translated plays from six languages. l le is currently tackling Noryy'egian to present lhs‘en's Hedda (jab/er while his preyious adaptations are to he immortalised in print. ls'en (‘ock‘hurn met the man and read the books”.

‘I tend to do a trot. a painl'nlly literal translation. l'hen I'll go oy er it and put it into a literal hut speakahle lorm. and then see \\ hat is necessary to remoy e. to aditist. heeause ol dil’l’erent conditions ol a languagef

Rohert l)a\ id .\lael )onald. prolilie \\ ritei. director. adapter and memher ol the ( ‘iti/ens' artistic triumyirate alyyays translates lrom serateh. ()ther respected play \\ rights such as tour Stoppard and l loyyard Brenton ha\c no qualms ahout turning to literal translations hut MacDonald relishes the lreedom otdoing the ioh himsell.

Oddly enough. it‘s his layourrte authors who undergo the most mampulation as he adapts them.



on the \yayelcngth. so that I can take liherties \shieh l \yonldn't \sith authors I didn‘t like as much.‘ Oh those authors. he says. ‘1 can do a perleetly good joh. hut it‘s Very much more

accurate .'

Both MacDonald and his puhlishers agree that they're aiming to present perlorming \ ersions ol the classics. rather than accurate literary translations. ’l'here’s perhaps another paradoy here. in that pertorming \ ersions tend to reflect

Robert David MacDonald \Vith (ioldoni. lor instance. ‘I know I‘m absolutely


.speeil'ic. and ol'ten short-Iiy ed. tastes or he particularly tied toa certain dit‘eetorot' actor. so they can become quickly dated. lt's a situation .\lael)onald understands. ‘l‘\ e alyyays said translations should he made tor a perlormanee. then haye a Very short radio-aetiy e hall—lite. and sooner or later go in lor auto-destruet. ln yy hieh ease you would say . \yhy get them puhlished'.“ the answer. lrom a man \y ho deserihes himsell as practical and pragmatic to the end‘. isn‘t perhaps surprising. ‘l'y'e got to liy e and pay school-lees like the rest ol rnankind.'

James I logan. ( )heron Books‘ l’nhlishing Director. is keen to emphasise his company 's selectiyity and independence t'rom the theatres. ‘\\'e learned early on that tie~tips ot any sort

. diminish the puhlisher’s role to that ol house

printerf says l logan. ' [here is a danger that the market lor play te\ts \y ill heeome saturated \yith mediocre \yorks ilpuhlishers let their relationship \y ith a theatre o\ erride their ludgementf that said. ( )heron haye pultlished sey en \ olnmes ol .\lael)onald. and hay e another tiy e in the pipeline. \Vith Hedi/u (iii/i/eropening ne\t month. it’s

been an lhsen year tor \lael )onald. llis li’mml yy’as premiered in London in .-\ugust. and he has

requests to do tyyo more. requests he \\ ill politely decline. l lc chose to translate Hedi/tr (:‘u/i/er ltecatise he didn't much like the other translations

on ol'ler. 'Relerring to them. 1 notice that a lot ol

them are inaccurate. or periphrastie. Is that the \y‘ord'.’ l’araphrasing,‘ 'l'hat indeed is the mud. l‘rom the ( ireek. ()ne ol' the le\y lim'opean literatures MacDonald hasn‘t yet mined. llt’t/t/tl‘fr‘tl/t/t’l'. ill/It' ( tine/IV l/It'tl/I't'. (Ii/(1\'\’()ll' froml“r11/u_r4()tIo/ier. (HH'I'UH li’oo/ty t (1/1 he (“milliliter/r115Rit‘lttu'r/yon.l/eu'y, /.o/1t/m1ll'//’


'I obviously had an eye tor

i lavish spectacle: he ends

; his castlisttor‘Joan‘with thetollowing. ‘soldiers and people. royal servants, bishops. monks. marshals. magistrates. court personnel. and other non-speaking characters in the luneral procession‘.


Read all about it .

I 'Faust l and II‘: Goethe. Goethe took 60 yearsto complete his masterpiece, which it's probably worth learning Germanlor. Alternatively. there‘s this condensed versionlor

twelve actors. The

enormous staging problems are ingeniously solved by settingthe wholething ' inside a climbingtrame.

I ‘Mary Stuart' and ‘Joanot Arc': Schiller.

Two tragedies by Goethe‘s great triend. The first sets

dramatic concerns above _

historical accuracy by “"‘"“ "“""“" "M " devising a meeting between

Mary and her captor I ‘Enrico Four': Pirandello.

Elizabeth. And Schiller I The show which opened the

! |

Citz‘ Year at Culture. it explores Pirandello's lavourite theme—the artiliciality ol identity. A modern Italian nobleman. who has lancied himseltas antlth-century emperorlor the past 20 years. tinally dropsthis mask. causing chaos ratherthan clarity around him.

Mountains s NEWSSQWUM

I ‘No Orchids tor Miss Blandish' (adapted lrom

James Hadley Chase).

; The blurb puts it succinctly: ‘ln1938. James Hadley

Chase. who had never

written a book nor set tool in the United States. armed with a slang dictionary and a vivid imagination. spent six weekends inthe Hampstead Public Library. Sardou's advice to playwrights. “torture the heroine". has seldom been so ellectively heeded since the days of La Tosca hersell.‘

I “Three Plays‘: Robert David MacDonald. MacDonald's own scripts are all based on (inltamous historical characters. ‘Summit Conlerence' imaginesa meeting between Hitler's mistress. Eva Braun. and Mussolini's. Clara Petacci. Glenda Jackson and Georgina Hale spattheir way throughthe London production. with

GaryOldhamasthe unlortunatesoldiercaught

takes a languid look at the

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

‘Grand Guignol' about a lost play bythis Jacobean

playwright. best known tor his gruesome dénouements. (Ken Cockburn)

Rrrlwt‘i ll.t\ ltl \ititiltitmiti "three




st tytsrrr (i().'\'Fl-IRl;f\(Zl-I (illlM‘.lllll..-\ , .

I Brand :lbsen.

lbsendidn'twrite Brandlor the stage. but alter his other theatrical successes. it must have looked like a good bet anyway. The first productionlasted seven

hours. This version.which

opened recentlyin London.

3 has beentacttullysnipped.

in the crosslire. ‘Chinchilla‘ lives and loves ol

‘Webster‘ is described as a

The List 2" September

1tI()eiohei W”! 47