Achille Campanile remains one of the greatest humorists of the twentieth century
and he is generally deemed the precursor of the Theatre of the Absurd. According
to Umberto Eco, Campanile’s theatre allows us to learn all the mechanisms of humour.
Wordplay is arguably the author’s favourite device; it is a device by means of which he
gives a humorous tone to his texts. In the case of one-act plays and “in due battute” tragedies,
wordplay frequently determines the structure o f the entire text.
The article attempts to evaluate the translations of those of Achille Campanile’s texts
which are thoroughly based on wordplay. The author tries to discover the criterion of
evaluating similar texts on the example of the tragedy Acqua minerale. That is why he
evokes the premises of the cognitive theory of translation by E. Tabakowska and K. Hejwowski,
as well as J. Henry’s classification of wordplay translation. Extending the classification
of the latter is suggested, since arguably another criterion, that of cognitively
conceived scene/scripts, should be added. The article demonstrates the groundlessness of
the thesis that wordplay is untranslatable. During the process of translation the translator
does not work withe words, but with scenes and scripts, and the preservation of those
constitutes the basic criterion of translating the texts in question.