For literary scholars, plays are texts; for scenographers, plays are performances. Yet clearly a drama is both text and performance. Dramatic Spaces examines period-specific stage spaces in order to assess how design shaped the thematic and experiential dimensions of plays. This book highlights the stakes of the debate about spatiality and the role of the spectator in the auditorium – if audience members are co-creators of the drama, how do they contribute?
The book investigates:
- Roman comedy and Shakespearean dramas in which the stage-space itself constituted the primary scenographic element and actors’ bodies shaped the playing space more than did sets or props
- the use of paid applauders in nineteenth-century Parisian theaters and how this practice reconfigured theatrical space
- transactions between stage designers and spectators, including work by László Moholy-Nagy, William Ritman, and Eiko Ishioka
Dramatic Spaces aims to do for stage design what reader-response criticism has done for the literary text, with specific case studies on Coriolanus, The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, Tales of Hoffman, M. Butterfly and Tiny Alice exploring the audience’s contribution to the construction of meaning.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Inside the Theater: Audience Experience at The Menaechmi and The Comedy of Errors 2. "Bodied Forth": Spectator, Stage, and Actor in Early Modern English Theaters 3. Audience Performance: The Claque in Nineteenth-century French Theater 4. How Modernism Played in Berlin: Moholy-Nagy’s Hoffmann at the Kroll Opera House 5. Box Set to the Infinite Power: Metatheatricality and Set Design in Albee's Tiny Alice 6. Design and Double Vision: Spectatorial Experience and M. Butterfly
Jennifer Low is Associate Professor of English at Florida Atlantic University.