Truth in Translation Overview

TRC Interpreters Conference, 2003

In 1996, the South African people set out to explore the nature of truth and forgiveness. They created a forum to heal the nation, end a cycle of revenge, and prevent a bloodbath. It became known as the TRC – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Victims were encouraged to tell their stories in public. Perpetrators were offered amnesty in return for truth. The very nature of this demanded that they face one another. The stories were told in all eleven official languages of South Africa. The people you are about to meet were the actual interpreters.

Script & Music Workshops, 2005

During two workshop periods, twelve South African actors step inside the characters of the interpreters. Becoming victim, perpetrator and everything in between, the actors live the personal transformation necessary to interpret for all sides. In close collaboration with the cast, artistic director Michael Lessac, writer Tom Paavo Tammi and composer Hugh Masekela develop the stage production's script and score. In addition to the text, actual TRC testimony is incorporated into several haunting songs.

Rwanda & South Africa, 2006

Truth in Translation participates in Rwanda's FESPAD, a Pan-African arts festival, which carries the byline, ‘We cannot change the past, but TOGETHER we can build a brighter future’. This marks the production's international premiere, followed by it's debut in South Africa at Johannesburg's historic Market Theatre.

Interview with Artistic Director, 2007

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
Michael Lessac takes us through the journey of Truth in Translation - from it's origin to it's travels in Rwanda - and interrogates the notion of forgiveness and "Ubuntu" ("I am because you are").

Edinburgh Scotland, 2007

Composer Hugh Masekela and the company of Truth in Translation treat an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to an impromptu night of music.

Dallas USA, 2007

Drawing packed audiences of diverse backgrounds and experience, Truth in Translation performs and holds workshops.

The Wall, 2007

A wall designed by a group of artists travels with Truth in Translation to capture audience reactions about the concept of forgiveness.

Mostar Bosnia, 2008

As the first stop on a 9-city tour throughout the Balkans, Truth in Translation plays to a divided community in Mostar, Bosnia by simultaneously projecting a live video feed of the production onto the bridge as it is performed more traditionally under the historic reconstructed bridge.

© The Colonnades Theatre Lab, Inc. USA [501(c)3] and The Colonnades Theatre Lab SA [Section 21]