OUR SHOWS: Translating Europe and beyond

When we first started our journey, we had no idea Europe would be at the centre of such a heated debate in the UK. We wanted primarily to promote and demystify European theatre, proving it can be as entertaining, moving and accessible as any other forms.

But recent events have made our work feel urgent.  We need to talk about Europe. Because not many people do. We believe theatre can play a role in stop the xenophobia, the dualism of general conversations, the stereotypes. Stories are stories, no matter where they come from. The plays we produce were written in Europe but are as universal as the human experience.
And let it be clear, European theatre doesn’t mean “white theatre”. Europe is multicultural. Our actors and the playwrights we produce might hold a European passport but are from all ethnic backgrounds.

We push the boundaries translation with a unique method based on physicalisation and collaboration. Our Translating Europe features original translations that don’t “domesticate” the text but re-create the specificity of the original language. 

In theatre language is physicality. It’s sound, occupying time and space. Translating for stage isn’t just finding the right words but the right music, rhythm, context. Too often traditional approaches to translation impose a “domestic” frame on the original, distorting it into a different, “more familiar” text all together – a very colonial attitude in our opinion. 

LegalAliens takes a different path. We see translation as a form of dramaturgy that begins and ends with a production, as ephemeral as theatre itself. By mixing a traditional textual method with a physical, multi-media approach, our translations are “scores” in which several elements interact to recreate the world of the original, not just words but music, images, videos and movement . The original language always find ways to resurface through songs, through idiomatic expressions left in the original language, through a movement, through images projected on the wall.

Our translators work with actors and director in the rehearsal room. We go through the text, scene by scene, line by line, forensically working at each line adjusting it as we progressively unveil its secrets. And when we can’t find the right way to translate a word, we leave it as it is. Traces of the original language are found all the time, like small clues.