Manana Antadze is a Georgian translator and the Founder and President of Tumanishvili Theater Foundation. From 1981 to 1989, Manana Antadze was a research associate at the Centre for Contemporary Literary Studies at the Georgian State University. She has been also working as a freelance translator since 1974 and her numerous translations include William Shakespeare´s Macbeth, Irving Stone´s Lust for Life, and J. K. Rowling´s Harry Potter and the Philosopher´s Stone.
MK: Interpretation of the text is a necessary part of the literary translation process. Shakespeare´s Macbeth is one of your most recent translations. Some perceive this tragedy as the discourse on evil, with Macbeth infecting the others, becoming himself the victim of it. What is your view on the murderous Scottish king?
MA: Macbeth is terrifying and shocking for everyone. It’s a bloody play, fearful, hair-raising and murky, nervously called ‘The Scottish Play’ in the theatre, not daring to pronounce the name of, as you say, the murderous Scottish king, who is getting what he deserves. Even the word ‘fear’ appears here more often, than anywhere else in Shakespeare´s work.
It is scary also because of its longstanding tradition of unlucky occurrences. On the day of the premiere I got e-mails like ´I will be crossing my fingers and turning over silver coins in my pocket seven times to wish you luck’ and ‘break your leg!’ But! I love this great tragedy!
in nature is a tyranny. It hath been
the untimely emptying of the happy throne and fall of many kings’,
says Macduff to Malcolm. Inordinate lust for power brings ruin! Temptation can defeat even the strongest human being! Guilt haunts the evildoer! You remember, after Macbeth kills Duncan, he hears voices – it is the voice of guilt. Later Macbeth and Lady Macbeth hear knocking – this is also the sound of the guilt. The knocker is Macduff, who, in the final act, kills Macbeth!
In the Holy Bible, I Corinthians /10 – 12, 13 / we read: 12.‘Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.’
What moves me is not only a story of murder, madness and death, hero’s fall from grace or supernatural phenomenon, but equivocation, tricky balance of the twin realm: comedy and tragedy, reality and supernatural, joined with mastery of language, with wit and humor, with lyricism. Shakespeare is the greatest of the poets. His later plays allow us to come very close to his deepest interests, but he ‘plays’ a game and you enjoy.
Interpretation is very important in literary translation process and takes courage, but for the first time in my life (it’s my first Shakespeare!) I came across the text with unlimited possibilities of interpretation. ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ – the most mysterious paradox tells us that nothing is as it seems! /Evil can wear a pretty cloak! /Everything is equivocal! Shakespeare is a restless experimenter and will always remain untranslatable!
MK: Shakespeare´s plays always represent a great challenge for the translator. What were major influences and inspirations in your work?
MA: My inspiration was the director’s vision. David Doiashvili (Doi) who is now an artistic director of our Music and Drama State Theatre, is one of Tumanishvili’s best students. I was commissioned Macbeth, but before I agreed, Doi told me very clearly about his conception. It seemed so attractive, but the process turned out to be much more complicated and interesting, than I could have imagined.
It was not just literary translation. I was translating Shakespeare for Doi, his cast and his production. I published the full text (of course, it was cut in the production) with the program. Doi erected ‘stage’ in the foyer of his theatre, which is an open space with balconies, thus creating three levels: ‘earth’ – main level, ´heaven’ and ‘hell’ (that’s how they were called in the Globe). Production was stretched vertically. Premiere was on October 12, 2009. We were having International festival in Tbilisi at that time and Macbeth was a great success.