Article published in:Translation in the Theatre
Edited by Cristina Marinetti
[Target 25:3] 2013
► pp. 407–426
Cultural capital in intercultural theatre
A study of Pan Pan theatre company’s The Playboy of the Western World
In 2006, the Dublin-based theatre company Pan Pan went to China to produce a Mandarin version of J.M. Synge’s canonical Irish play The Playboy of the Western World. Director Gavin Quinn chose to set the adaptation in a hairdresser/ massage parlour/brothel, on the outskirts of Beijing. He originally wanted the protagonist to hail from Xin-Jiang, China’s troubled Sinomuslim province. In interview, he said he was advised against this for fear of Chinese state censorship. However, the Chinese translators, Yue Sun and Zhaohui Wang, suggest that the decision not to represent a Muslim protagonist had to do with ethnic sensitivities. In order to analyse this conflict, this article draws on translation sociology after Bourdieu, clarifying the functioning of the habitus, and formulating a global field of cultural production. It argues that analysis of intercultural processes focused on cultural capital can provide materially engaged insights into the power relations informing given intercultural situations.
Keywords: interculturalism, theatre, translation, adaptation, Bourdieu, postcolonialism, capital
Published online: 11 October 2013
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