Edinburgh Theatre Arts presents the World Premiere of MacBeth in Scots, translated from Shakespeare by Robin Lorimer.  This powerful translation brings to vibrant life Shakespeare’s bloody tale of ambition, treachery and downfall.

The rich Scots tongue (not to be confused with Gaelic) gives fresh energy to this RSC Open Stages production.

In 1995, Edinburgh Theatre Arts presented selected scenes from MacBeth in Scots on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in a short, late-night companion piece to our full–scale Fringe production of Shakespeare’s original text.  The late-night production was a great success, as confirmed by enthusiastic reviews:

“Scots tongue adds pride and passion”, Edinburgh Evening News. 

“The translation by Robin Lorimer is remarkable for its simple passion and compression and it brings a new dark directness and energy to Shakespeare’s text.” the Scotsman.

Subsequently, in providing a programme note for the production, Liz Lochhead, the Scots Makar, and well-known poet and playwright has commented:

“From a simple reading of Robin Lorimer's translation of MacBeth I know it to be muscular, passionate, dark, and very, very rich.  Can't wait to hear it.  This text performed in full by this fine company will be a real theatrical event.  It will certainly add an extra frisson to Shakespeare's most headlong and thrilling psychological horror story to hear it in such Scots.”

The Edinburgh Festival hosts companies from all over the globe performing Shakespeare’s plays in a wide variety of languages.  It is time to bring the Scottish play home in Scots.  The ongoing debate about Scottish independence and Scottish cultural identity makes it all the more relevant.

Click the advert on the Newsnet Scotland front page for further details.

Comments  

 
# SolTiger 2012-04-27 22:33
Sadly I can't get down to see any of the performances, I'll be very interested to find out if they are considering selling the translated text though.
 
 
# pictishbeastie 2012-04-27 22:50
Let's hope they can pronounce Dunsinane and Scone correctly in this one!
 
 
# ituna semea 2012-04-28 11:35
Shakespeare translated into Scots and you are worried about the pronounciation of a couple of place names. I look forward to hearing the Scots translation but to say that it adds to Shakespeare's wonderful blank verse may be over egging the custard. I would be keen to hear a Scots translation which adds much to "The multitudinous seas incarnadine"
 
 
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-28 13:42
Shakespeare has been performed in practically every language of the globe. In every case the translation has added something, even if it's only the immediacy of hearing it in your first language (the frisson referred to in the article). In every case it's lost something, because any translation loses something. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Scots version will be 'better' or 'improved'. It will simply be different, and that difference may include, for some of the audience, greater accessibility. "The multitudinous seas incarnadine" can be improved for someone to whom the language is impenetrable by rendering it in a form that they can understand. That form - even in Scots - can also be poetic and evocative, the more so because it is understood.
 
 
# FREEDOM1 2012-04-28 13:56
I watched a performance in French at an old derilect abbey outside of Brussels. I did not understand much of it but it was Fantastic. There were huge crowds with people standing everywhere. They got a huge applause. The costumes and the acting was second to none.
 
 
# uilleam_beag 2012-04-28 16:35
I couldn't agree more. To translate Shakespeare into other tongues is a well-established and rightly lauded practice. Inevitably, the translation has a subtly different flavour from the original but that is actually essential to a good translation. Purist translations that stick to the very letter of the original tend to be academic exercises of interest to postgrad students but make for tortuous reading for the rest of us; oftentimes it is a more relaxed translation that carries the spirit of the work which is able to draw in the uninitiated.

I'm pretty sure Shakespeare's plays have been successfully adapted into modern vernacular English, opening the works up to people who find iambic pentameter and archaic vocabulary opaque and off-putting. If that is fine, why not Scots?

I recently saw a group of theatre students in Shanghai put on a fantastic production of Macbeth in Chinese. The transliteration of place- and character names made for a helluva mouthful here and there, and the translator clearly got the wrong end of the stick with a couple of the more nuanced lines to comic effect, but by and large it was a great night's entertainment and the local crowd was enthralled. Personally, it was just a joy too hear someone recite in Chinese, all hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor. I had to smile to myself that -- apart from my wife beside me -- probably not a soul in the auditorium had a clue where it was, far less that it's a great wee village where I was once one of 108 pupils in the primary school!

Sadly, I'm stuck on the other side of the world, so I'll not make these performances. I can only hope they go down a storm and I'll have a chance to see them again in the future.
 
 
# Alan 2012-04-28 00:28
R.L.C Lorimer (1992) MacBeth, Canongate, Edinburgh. ISBN 0 86241 389 3
 
 
# SolTiger 2012-04-28 12:39
Well that's me telt.

Just found a good condition hardback library copy for a fiver (including postage)online.
 
 
# uilleam_beag 2012-04-28 16:45
Yikes. Is it no a bit shocking it's taken 20 year before it's actually made it to the stage?
 
 
# BillCo 2012-04-28 11:54
'Oor Hamlet', Adam McNaughton's concise version of the play in classic Scot's and Weegie parlance is hard to beat.

www.youtube.com/.../
 
 
# ramstam 2012-04-29 20:04
Hearin onythin in guid braid Scots is a fell guid thing. Wi this Lorimer owersettin mony folk that wadna normally gang tae a Shakespeare production, wull nae doot hae thair een stappit open tae see a bit o internaitional cultur thae wad itherwise nae conseeder at aw. There maunna be ony boonds tae Shakespeare, an shairly MacBeth o aw the bards warks shuid be heard in Scots! Forby thon, is it nae a sad thing that the abuin article haed tae say "not to be confused with Gaelic". Haein been tae twa-three Scots language plays afore, an seein folk wi tears in thair een because o hearin thair ain Scots Tung, I hae nae doot at aw that this play wull "blaw thaim awa". I'll awa an jyne thon queue for tickets!
 
 
# ituna semea 2012-04-30 18:04
Braid is not broad it is high, the play as written is much closer to my "ain tung" than this manufactured tosh.
 
 
# Ard Righ 2012-04-29 22:59
From the performance perspective, to have this renowned play in Broad Scots is an excellent and obvious idea, it must be borne in mind that this play was very early anti Scottish propaganda, based on the propaganda writings of Geoffrey of Monmonth.

The real story of Scotlands best Gaelic king is picked up admirably by the author Peter Beresford Ellis in his book Macbeth, King of Scotland, 1980.
 

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