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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
The Globes Audience in the Future
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1603  Monday, 30 August 2004

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Aug 2004 08:00:17 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1584 The Globes Audience in the Future

[2]     From:   Steve Roth <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Aug 2004 09:31:22 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1584 The Globes Audience in the Future


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Aug 2004 08:00:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1584 The Globes Audience in the Future
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1584 The Globes Audience in the Future

It's not really that easy to pinpoint the moment when the theatrical
experience closed itself off from audience interaction or even audience
movement.

I do know that this development has nothing to do with indoor
performance spaces, lighting, or even proscenium arches (ask me a few
years ago and I would have bet on the arch). Garrick used an arch and
largely ignored it, staging himself in front of it in order to interact
and gain better rapport with the audience. The actions of audience
members themselves can indicate when this change might have occurred.
Women shilled oranges in Restoration times and distracting sounds
continued to come from the audience through the Victorian era. In fact,
it was the 19th century that saw the first time theatrical practitioners
chose to turn the house lights off, leaving only the stage lit.

If I were to take a guess at this moment, it seems like the late
Victorians first saw this cinematic approach to the stage, at the same
time that pictorial Shakespeare became the vogue. Still, the work of
Poel (authentic staging conditions) indicates a striving against that
fourth wall. Certainly by the time that film was widely distributed,
non-musical hall theatre was already darkening and quieting audiences in
a hope to achieve pictorial authenticity and to accommodate the
viewpoint that Shakespeare was high art, the equivalent in many ways, I
would argue, of opera.

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Aug 2004 09:31:22 -0700
Subject: 15.1584 The Globes Audience in the Future
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1584 The Globes Audience in the Future

David Evett:

 >spectators can be kept sharply aware that they are
 >occupying the same space and breathing the same air not only as the
 >actors but as the other spectators.

Perhaps the more significant point is the opposite--actors being aware
that they are in the same space as the audience. That is one
thing--maybe the main thing--that makes the daylight lighting of the
Globe (even at night) work so well. Whenever there's directed stage
lighting in a dark space, the fourth wall is there for the actors,
whether or not it's there for the spectators.

Steve

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