Alchemists of the Theatre
7 9 2019
Alchemists of the Theatre

Chiara Lagani on the art of dramaturgy

Black walls, dark parquet floor, large mirrors, stools set up in a semicircle - one can immediately see that this event is working from a different script. ‘Another World' is a workshop that is intended to provide an introduction to the process of translating texts for the stage.

Little by little, the participants arrive on Friday morning. An animated mix of actors, teachers, translators and theatre enthusiasts. In the middle is the lecturer, Chiara Lagani, dramatist and actress who wants to pass her passion for theatre on to her audience. Her message: “you can always start with the theatre, regardless of previous education or training. The most important thing is your passion.” As a warm-up, Lagani asks two questions. What does dramaturgy actually mean and what is really important when it comes to translations?

Lagani sees herself as a kind of alchemist. When she starts telling a story, she finds herself in a lab. Her work consists of experimenting with different materials and elements to create a new piece. Over the years, and with more experience, her understanding on which elements will harmonise well with each other grows. According to Lagani, a dramaturge asks the key questions that will create a dialogue, an action and finally a performance. The fact that a dramaturge is involved in this development process is a privilege for her. Thus, the creator simultaneously becomes a witness to how all elements are composed into something new. Furthermore, Lagani gives the participants important advice on how to improve translations. It is not a question of finding the right words, but rather of making the author's voice heard.

Of course, a little practice is an essential part of a workshop and so Chiara Lagani invites the group to a little game. With the help of three different levels of observation, the participants should bring a figure to life. They should include biographical, scenic and historical contexts in order to create a credible character. Equipped with pen and paper, the participants retreat for a few minutes. It becomes quiet and creativity fills the air while the newly trained chemists of theatre get to work.