Deep thoughts about theater

I went to not an opera yesterday, but a play – Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I am not competent to judge theater performances (I liked it? The characterizations made sense, and the set was appropriately – but not obviously – dollhouse like and claustrophobic? My spouse got all teary-eyed at the end, too) but I’m so used to the conventions of classical music concerts that it did throw me off to hear recorded music intermixed with live action. Also, I never really thought about this before, but it seems that musical performances – at least ones with soloists – often involve more extended applause, elaborate curtain calls and/or yelling and hollering at the end.

I may amuse myself this week by re-reading the play, though. I read it in college a few times, but not since then.

Also, one interesting thing: in addition to crediting the English translation of the play, there’s also a reference in the program to the person who made the “literal translation.” Is this so that non-Norwegian speakers among the cast can follow every twist and turn of the original text, so as to get the nuances right? Do they do this for operas too?

6 thoughts on “Deep thoughts about theater

  1. >> Do they do this for operas too?

    I know a lot of singers will write the literal translation into their vocal score when they are learning a piece in a language they are not highly proficient in.


      1. This is the common thing when the actual translator’s text isn’t the final product. If a playwright is interested in a particular play but doesn’t have the language, they will commission an academic (aka literal) translation from someone who does, and adapt their version from it.


        1. So when you see a writer credited with “English adaptation” of something in a program, that refers to them reworking someone else’s literal translation?


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