Una mappa delle parole intraducibili da tutto il mondo

There is a list of ‘untranslatable words’ from around the world – complex notions hidden inside unique terms that are specific to one language system. In the Inuktitut language, the word iktsuarpok indicates “the feeling of anticipation while waiting for someone to arrive, leading to intermittently going outside to check for them”. In Japanese, tsundoku means “letting books pile up, ready for reading sooner or later.” In Bantu, the term ubuntu means “I can only exist through and together with others”.

Sotterraneo selected dozens of these (universal as well as culture-specific) words, and had online conversations with as many native speakers about the meaning and use of these words in their native cultures. These brief “lessons of untranslatability” morphed into the outline for a performance, aimed to put the words on stage and transform a short dictionary into an atypical dramaturgy.

This show has also been marked by the impossibility of embodying ideas on stage due to Covid-related limitations. Yet, these have gone from being strict restrictions to a tool of drama, helping us share a reflection on human relations and incommunicability – now that our species is in dire need of more effective international cooperation.


concept and direction Sotterraneo
on stage Sara Bonaventura, Claudio Cirri, Lorenza Guerrini, Daniele Pennati, Giulio Santolini
dramaturgy  Daniele Villa

light design Marco Santambrogio
costumes Eleonora Terzi, Laura Dondoli
sound design Mattia Tuliozi
scenic elements by Laboratorio di Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione
stagehand and prop maker Sergio Puzzo
graphic design Lorenzo Guagni, Jacopo Jenna
producer Eleonora Cavallo

production Sotterraneo
with the contribution of ERT – Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Fondazione CR Firenze
supported by Regione Toscana, Mibac 

artistic residencies Centrale Fies_art work space, La Corte Ospitale, Elsinor/Teatro Cantiere Florida, Laboratorio Nove, Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese

Sotterraneo is part of the Fies Factory, of the Network Europeo Shift Key and is resident at Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese Production Centre


ph. © Gabriele Acerboni e Francesca Cappi



Atlante Linguistico della Pangea

Festival InTeatro – Ancona
Teatro Excelsior – Reggello
Da vicino nessuno è normale – Milano
Kilowatt festival – Sansepolcro

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