PSU students translated Italian play now being performed in London
Author: Cristina Rojas, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Posted: November 14, 2019

An Italian play will be performed in London this month — thanks to a group of Portland State University students who translated the work into English.

"Variations on Kraepelin's Model," a play by Italian playwright Davide Carnevali, will be performed Nov. 18 in London's Theatre503 as part of Italy Uncovered. The play is a conversation of three men — a father, son and doctor — on crucial issues such as Alzheimer's disease, conflicts of generations and feelings of guilt.

 In spring 2014, Kateřina Bohadlová, a visiting scholar in the College of the Arts' Theatre Arts department, wanted to stage the play. She reached out to Angela Zagarella, an Italian instructor, to see if any of her students would be interested in translating the play.

Zagarella's second-year Italian class that term took on the project and worked in groups. 

"It's a good activity for them to see the language in action," she said. "I love the process because the students end up talking about the language and what it means and often forget that they're studying it."

Bohadlová directed a version of the translated play with PSU students that May and told Zagarella that her students would be credited when their translation is used. Over the years, Zagarella had nearly forgotten about the play, but earlier this month, Bohadlová emailed her, letting her know that the play would be performed in London — and that her students are credited with the translation.

The group of students who took it upon themselves to provide the final translation — Elizabeth Burr, Hannah Anderson, Abner Barthel and Caitlin Gordon — are listed.

Zagarella said projects like these empower students because they feel a sense of responsibility. Another of Zagarella's classes translated the script for an Italian documentary, "Fuori."