Manage episode 366020504 series 3013668
In this episode, Andrew Biswell, Director of the Burgess Foundation, investigates Anthony Burgess's Chatsky, to celebrate the very first publication of the play by Salamander Street. Chatsky is translated from Alexander Griboyedov's nineteenth century play Gore ot uma, or Woe Out of Wit.
Chatsky tells the story of a young Russian diplomat who returns from a foreign posting to Moscow, where he hopes to rekindle his love affair with his childhood sweetheart ,Sophie, but she is being pursued by Molchalin, and the Moscow elite have grown suspicious of Chatsky's worldly intelligence. Burgess's exuberant translation maintains the original's rhyming form, but, like his earlier translation of Cyrano de Bergerac, the wordy and witty results are quintessentially Burgessian.
To shed light on the play, Andrew Biswell speaks to Anna Aslanyan, expert in Russian literature, about Griboyedov's original, and how Burgess's translation captures its essence. He also chats to Jonathan Cullen, who played Molchalin in the original production of Chatsky at the Almeida, London, in March 1993. Here's more about our guests in this episode:
Anna Aslanyan is a journalist, translator and public service interpreter. As a journalist she has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and other UK publications, writing about books and arts. Her translations from Russian include contemporary short stories for Dalkey Archive’s collection Best European Fiction and Egor Kovalevsky’s 19th century travelogue A Journey to Africa. Her popular history of translation Dancing on Ropes: Translators and the Balance of History is out now.
Jonathan Cullen has been an actor for stage and screen for nearly 40 years. On stage, he has performed lead roles with the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and on the West End as well as renowned theatres around the UK. He has appeared in films such as Velvet Goldmine, Finding Neverland and Suffragette, and on television he played King George VI in the BBC’s adaptation of Len Deighton’s SS-GB, and the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Channel 4 comedy The Windsors. He is currently based in Portland, Oregon.
Extracts from Chatsky are read by Paul Barnhill who is an actor, puppeteer and the creative director of the theatre company Goofus.
Two Plays: Chatsky and Miser, Miser by Anthony Burgess at Salamander Street
Dancing on Ropes: Translators and the Balance of History by Anna Aslanyan at Blackwells (affiliate link)
Jonathan Cullen's Website
Goofus Theatre Company
International Anthony Burgess Foundation
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