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Katherine TurnbullDrama grad Katherine Turnbull’s translation of a French Canadian play will premiere online May 12.

Grad puts education to work in translating play

Graduating from the University of Windsor with a major in acting and a minor in French was an excellent base for her career, says theatre artist Katherine Turnbull (BFA 2011).

She has combined both disciplines in her latest project, a translation from the French of Rachel Graton’s La nuit du 4 au 5, which Talisman Theatre will stream online May 12 to 29. The play won the 2017 Prix Gratien-Gelinas from the Centre des auteurs dramatiques du Quebec, and was shortlisted shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for French-language drama.

Night from the 4th to 5th tells of a sexual assault and the young woman who fought back. She tries to remember what happened and the face of her attacker, but she’s plagued with memory lapses and fleeting images.

“Translation … is interpretation, just like acting,” Turnbull told University Players marketing co-ordinator Kristen Siapas. “A lot of the same preparation, research, and analysis applies.”

Turnbull said her drama training enabled her to view the text from many perspectives.

“I would even perform my translation up on my feet to get a sense of how it sounded out loud,” she said. “The sheer amount of writing I did during my time at UWindsor — in English and French — helped hone my writing skills and my process.”

To make sure she reflected the playwright’s intentions, Turnbull was in regular contact with Graton.

“It takes a certain amount of flexibility to get the same meaning, thought, or ambience across in English,” said Turnbull. “The two languages are just so different.”

Read more of her interview with Siapas on the website of the School of Dramatic Art.

Click here for the streaming digital performance of Night from the 4th to 5th.