Intersemiotics translation in adaptation: The case study of the adaptation of narrative poem The Tale of Kieu (Nguyen Du) to video cải lương Kim Van Kieu (Nguyen Bach Tuyet)

Author: Hieu Le Quoc (Institute of Literature (IoL), Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS))
Speaker: Hieu Le Quoc
Topic: Non verbal semiotics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


We are living in the age of adaptation. In the contemporary art, the power of adaptation evidenced by the fact that a textual semiotic system is continuously passing through the different genres and means to establish new texts. Adaptation is also the intercultural translation because each work adapted has a cultural shift to adapt to the target culture. Although The Tale of Kieu (Nguyen Du) made use of the plot of Kim Van Kieu written by the pseudonym Qingxin Cairen (青心才人, Pure Heart Talented Man), in the Vietnamese artistic context, the tale can be considered as the “original text” that provides superabundant materials to other adaptations. The Tale of Kieu is one of the Nom poetries that has been the most adapted to other art forms, particularly “cải lương” (reformed theatre). We study the case of video-cải lương Kim Van Kieu (directed by Nguyen Bach Tuyet) to find out some modes of semiotic transposition from the narrative (narrative poem) to the performance/showing (video cải lương). This inter-semiotic translation process requires the adaptation author must select, renounce, transform as well as encode/decode semiotics, genre, and materials that belong to the verbal semiotic system to the nonverbal semiotic another or vice versa. To concretize, we analyze factors that were involved or denied during the adaptation of The Tale of Kieu to Kim Van Kieu.

Keywords: The Tale of Kieu, Kim Van Kieu, inter-semiotic, adaptation, Cải lương