Conflict and Theatre Translation: A Narrative Analysis of Sa:kki (1987)

  • Dinithi Karunanayake


Various forms of cultural production play a key role in negotiating political conflict. Among these, theatre is of special significance due to the strong emotional and ideological impact that can be created through live dramatic performances, given the immediacy of the experience and the involvement it requires of the audience. This chapter proposes to examine the interventionary stance adopted by Sa:kki (the Sinhala translation of Dario Fo’s Italian farce Morte accidentale di un anarchico (1974)) in 1987 and the context of Eelam War I, in Sri Lanka. This theatre translation was initiated and sponsored by the Movement for Releasing Political Prisoners in Sri Lanka and its pre- and post-performance history, which include an attempt on the life of the director-translator and his subsequent exile from Sri Lanka, can be read as responses to the subversive potential of counter-hegemonic narratives such as this. This chapter adopts a narrative perspective, predicated on the idea that narrative mediates our engagement with multiple “realities”, to examine how Sa:kki contests official narratives that support conflict through its translational strategies which include the strategic deployment of features of the source texts as well as a range of features introduced in the performance such as the use of songs, dance, and space.


Narrative Theory Conflict Theatre Translation Performance Sri Lanka 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of ColomboColomboSri Lanka

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