Café Delay: performance practice as research to explore processes of translation


Richard Talbot, aka his alter ego Dr Kurt Zarniko, describes himself as a performer, researcher and teacher. His research activities are predominantly practice-based, and often conducted through in-role and immersed performance in public spaces, heritage sites and studios. He research practices and topics related to clown performance, memory and laughter.

The following example, «Café Delay», is particularly affected by Modern Languages. It is described as «a series of workshops for playful language immersion».


Café Delay started in 2019 with a little installation and was later moved online due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

It was described as a pop up language ‘lab’ project using performance practice-as-research methods to explore processes of translation with older amateur performers and participants in North West England.


The theoretical framework for the analysis draws on studies into the function of play in language acquisition (Crystal 1998, 2020), studies on the impact of multilingualism on cognitive decline (Bak et al 2013, 2014), as well as humour and translation theory (Hibbett 2002; Laera 2020; Milner Davis 2006). This framework has evolved alongside Zoom experiments in a pop-up language lab environment that deploy a set of physical comedy principles to play with liminal spaces of meaning and intention (Bouissac, 2015; Davison 2015; Talbot and King 2014).

Further examples

Richard Talbot/Kurt Zarniko talks further about Café Delay on his dedicated website.

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