Translation

“In translating plays there are always things that are ‘untranslatable’. That is the challenge. Plays are meant to be experienced live, one cannot simply translate text; one must translate the action that lies underneath the text. Action will always be cultural. So will subtleties and humor. Therefore, it is imperative to translate specifically for the culture that one is working in and to translate specifically for production.”  –SCS

Jon Fosse is Norway’s leading contemporary playwright. His work has been translated into over 40 languages and produced all over the world. Since 2004, Sunde has served as Fosse’s American-English translator, and together with Oslo Elsewhere (Anna Gutto, Co-Artistic Director), has been dedicated to bringing his work to an American audience. Sunde’s translations have been published by Performing Arts Journal (PAJ) and Words Without Borders. Below are excerpts from the beginning of three Fosse translations, and the essay she wrote about Fosse’s work in 2007. If you would like to read the full scripts of the translations, please contact her here.

SILENCE AND SPACE

by Sarah Cameron Sunde

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An essay formally introducing Jon Fosse to an American academic audience, published by Performing Arts Journal (PAJ), 2007.

NIGHT SINGS ITS SONGS

by Jon Fosse, translated by Sarah Cameron Sunde

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– between day and night, dream and nightmare –

A modern day tragedy about two people who love each other desperately, but in an attempt to find each other again, push each other into a downward spiral of miscommunication.

DEATHVARIATIONS

by Jon Fosse, translated by Sarah Cameron Sunde

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When her daughter dies, a woman digs through her past, unearthing each of the losses in her life. She comes to find that death, her frequent visitor, may not be her enemy. Jon Fosse heightens the language of the everyday to reveal the power behind what we leave unsaid and what remains unseen.

translation published by PAJ in 2007

SA KA LA

by Jon Fosse, translated by Sarah Cameron Sunde

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It was a beautiful day
the day Mom turned sixty
and that’s good
because we do love her
don’t we”

A new play about syllables and expectations,
preserving time and wasting it.

translation published by PAJ in 2009