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A Dramatic Text is a Fully Rounded Unit Only when it is Performed, Since it is Only in the Performance that its Full Potential is Realized

Adriana Dervishaj, Ergys Prifti


The study focuses on different approaches to the study of drama put forward by different semioticians. It also demonstrates how all theater semioticians' agreement that the dramatic text (written text) is radically conditioned by its performability (miseen scène) has had a great impact upon translation studies and has led some theoreticians of translation studies to reexamine their position towards translating theater texts. It dwells upon the interface of two theoretical frameworks—the Semiotics of Theater and Theater Translation—as well as on the theoretical polarization between the notions of performability and readability in Theater Translation since the mid-1980s. A dramatic text is a fully rounded unit only when it is performed, since it is only in the performance that its full potential is realized. Real translation takes place on the level of the ‘miseen scène as a whole’ according to Patrice Pavis(1989, 41; author's emphasis)in his article "Problems of Translation for the Stage: Intercultural and Post-Modern Theatre,". The second part of the paper presents how Susan Bassnett and Patrice Pavis, a translation theoretician and a theater semiotician, respectively, have polarized the theory of theater translation into the notions of performability (or playability) and readability since the mid-1980s. In conclusion, the research endeavors to explicate the current theoretical polarization between performability and readability and suggests that this polarization is merely a reductionist illusion.

Keywords: Performability/miseen scène, qualitative data, Intercultural and Post-Modern Theatre, interface of two theoretical frameworks, theoretical polarization.

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