A Feminist Perspective to Nora-A Doll’s HouseSafiye Gül Avcı Solmaz
The sociology of translation provides a methodology which enables the researcher to focus on the agents who produce a translation product and their position-taking in the field by considering the interrelationships between the “field”, “habitus” and “capitals”. The approach adopted in the sociology of translation has been substantially shaped by the sociological concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu. Habitus, which is one of the most important concepts in this respect, provides an important tool to researchers in terms of studying the agents and their roles in the field. This study examines the influence of the translational agents on the circulation of women-centred plays with a feminist perspective. Since theatre is a performing art which brings linguistic and non-linguistic elements together, drama translation also requires many points such as performability, speakability and playability to be taken into account which go beyond the textual and linguistic concerns. Considering this, it is possible to say that a drama translator with a “habitus” structured in the field of theatre will inevitably have an effect on the translation product. Hence, departing from this supposition, the study concentrates on Jale Karabekir’s “professional habitus” through the example of Nora-A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Nora-A Doll’s House, which universally questions gender roles, has been translated by different translation agents in Turkey before; however it has been constructed with a feminist dramaturgy for the first time by the founder and general art director of Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş Karabekir. Karabekir has also made the play available to a larger number of women audiences thanks to the performance carried out in different cities in Turkey.
Nora-Bir Bebek Evi’ne Feminist Bir YorumSafiye Gül Avcı Solmaz
Çeviri sosyolojisi, bir çeviri ürününün ortaya çıkmasında rol oynayan eyleyicilerin alandaki konum almalarını “alan”, “habitus” ve “sermayeler” ilişkiselliği içinde irdelemeyi sağlayan bir metodoloji sunar. Çeviri sosyolojisinin ortaya koyduğu bu yaklaşım, büyük oranda Pierre Bourdieu’nün sosyolojik kavramlarıyla şekillenmiştir. Bu kavramlar arasında önemli bir yere sahip olan habitus, alandaki eyleyicileri ve oynadıkları rolü anlamak açısından, araştırmacılara katkı sağlamaktadır. Bu çalışma da, tiyatro çevirisi kapsamında, çeviri eyleyicilerinin sahip olduğu “profesyonel habitus”un, kadın merkezli oyunların dolaşımına ve bu oyunların feminist bir bakış açısıyla sahne taşınmasına etkisini irdelemektedir. Dilsel ve dil dışı öğeleri biraraya getiren performansa dayalı bir sanat dalı olarak tiyatro, çeviri aşamasında metin ve dil düzeyinin ötesine uzanan oynanabilirlik, konuşulabilirlik ve sahnelenebilirlik gibi konuları da dikkate almayı gerektirmektedir. Bu açıdan ele alındığında, tiyatro çevirmeninin tiyatro alanında yapılanmış bir “habitus”a sahip olmasının ortaya çıkacak çeviri ürününü etkilediğini söylemek mümkündür. Buradan hareketle, çalışmada, Henrik Ibsen tarafından kaleme alınan Nora-Bir Bebek Evi özelinde ve buradan yola çıkarak yapılan irdelemede, Jale Karabekir’in “profesyonel habitusuna” odaklanılmaktadır. Toplumsal cinsiyet rollerinin evrensel olarak sorgulandığı Nora-Bir Bebek Evi, Türkiye’de daha önce farklı çeviri eyleyicileri tarafından çevrilmiş; ancak feminist tiyatro topluluğu Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş’un kurucusu ve genel sanat yönetmeni olan Karabekir tarafından ilk defa feminist dramaturgiyle sahneye taşınmıştır. Karabekir aynı zamanda benimsemiş olduğu feminist duruşun bir sonucu olarak Türkiye’nin farklı şehirlerinde yaptığı gösterimlerle oyunun daha geniş bir kadın kitlesine ulaşmasını da sağlamıştır.
Nora-A Doll’s House written by the Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen in 1879 is a universal play which centres on women’s problems. In the play, Nora represents the woman who is dominated by patriarchy and treated like “a doll” by her father when single and by her husband when married. However, although subjected to the domestic sphere and experiencing oppression due to her sex, Nora does not yield to the demands and pressure of patriarchy, and at the end of the play, she leaves “the doll’s house” to set out on a new life of her own. The final stage is of great importance in terms of feminist thought as it represents women’s emancipation from the domestic sphere and the patriarchal burden attributed to her.
The play has received great attention all over the world since the day it was released, and has been translated into various languages and staged in many countries. In Turkey, the play was first translated and staged in the municipal theatre of İstanbul in 1929. Since then, it has also been translated by different translators, and staged in state and municipal theatres. The last translational agent of the play is Jale Karabekir, who is the founder and general art director of the Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş.
As an alternative feminist theatre enterprise, the Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş won the Ibsen Scholarship Awards in 2009 for its project Nora. The project comprised the Kurdish translation of the play and bringing a feminist comtemporary perspective to it. To this end, the play was first retranslated into Turkish by Jale Karabekir and Feride Eralp, and then their translation was rendered into Kurdish by Aydın Orak. Their version was staged in various eastern cities in Turkey as well as the 17th International Istanbul Theatre Festival.
Departing from the example of the Nora project and focusing on Jale Karabekir as a feminist dramaturgist and translational agent, the present study seeks to understand and explore the influence of “professional habitus” on the translation and circulation of women-centred theatre plays. As Christiene Zurbach (2009) emphasizes “[m]ore studies are needed […] especially on the position of the translator as participant in the artistic practice of the theatre and as theatrical specialist” (p. 280). Since theatre is a performing art which brings linguistic and non-linguistic elements together, drama translation also requires many points such as performability, speakability and playability to be taken into account which go beyond the textual and linguistic concerns. Considering this, it goes without saying that the drama translator needs to have qualifications and knowledge in the field of theatre, and it is supposed that the translator’s experiences in the field have a significant effect on the circulation and reception of the plays.
Considering all these, in order to seek the traces of relationality in the field of theatre and drama translation, and the effects of “professional habitus” on drama translation, the study first provides general information about the sociology of translation and Bourdieusian concepts. In the second part, definitions and important concepts about theatre, drama translation and feminist theatre are covered. In the third part, after introducing Nora-A Doll’s House and giving short information about its history in Turkey, the study benefits from Jale Karabekir’s biography, various interviews she has given on different platforms and a personal e-mail interview based on three open-ended questions with a view to shedding light on her “professional habitus”. The study suggests that through her “structured” and “structuring” “professional habitus” in the field of theatre, Karabekir plays a key role in bringing a feminist perspective to women-centred plays which were previously staged in traditional theatre forms as well as contributing to establishing “feminist theatre habitus” among the Turkish audience.