Arguments for Visiting a Theatre Although you don't Understand the Language of Performance

Perhaps you are accustomed with the situation of not being able to understand the language of a performance taking place within your own theatre area. This could be for example when you visit the opera, which is being sung in Italian, a language that you are unfamiliar with, or when groups from other countries are performing in your own country in a language you are not fluent in, like French – as in the case of Ariane Mnouchkine. The best argument is who could otherwise listen to a noh play, – it's in bungo, old Japanese, even most Japanese don't understand it, except of course, they are specialists. Sometimes there is no spoken language used in a performance, but that's another story.

Thus, the situation of not under-
standing the language of performance may not be alien to you, since you can experience it even in your own country.

Other advantages come into play when you don't understand the language spoken or sung at a theatre performance, e.g. your sense of «theatreness» sharpens and you experience the specific theatre performance within different codes.

But even before attending a theatre performance abroad you can get information almost everywhere, e.g. a short summary in your travel guide, more in-depth information in books or special articles on certain aspects of the performance or by accessing information in «theatre areas» where you can find both summaries and in-depth information and – as a matter of fact – where its all digitally available.

When you attend a theatre performance in a country whose language you don't understand –

– you will see the theatre venue. In some theaters this is a very historical experience because the theatre venue is very old, like the theatre in Hvar on the island of Hvar, Croatia, built in 1612, the oldest theatre in Europe still in use.

– you will be familiar with the way to order/buy tickets. You might not even need a ticket – for example – join a traditional wayang kulit-performance in Java, where no tickets are sold.

– you get insight on:

You can get translations of the works of many authors, for example Shakespeare in German translated by Schlegel/Tieck or Fried and many others. The situation concerning Burmese (Myanmar) Drama is not as good, altough some works have been translated into English. To get translation information on Indonesian plays in print see Lontar. All-in-all there are many translations available online – check the specific entries at «theatre areas» to get them.

Last but not least, you will get the atmosphere, the feeling of the performance, which is also very important to develop an understanding of a culture and you can enjoy the performance itself, because theatre is also always entertaining.