What is a theatrical performance?
The theatrical performance is a collective creation that expresses in visible, audible and rhythmic images some real manifestations of imaginary life, places and people, by means of clear, precise and natural feelings and emotions of the human soul. Let’s take the stage production of “Hamlet” and let’s analyze it
according to the above deﬁnition. It is a collective creation because it is the combined work of actors, artists, musicians and other theatrical workers, all of them submitted to the single will of the director. It’s a visible image because it is through the medium of our eye that
we receive the impression of sets, costumes, make-ups of the actors, etc. It’s an audible image because our ear receives the impression of all the lines delivered by the actors, as well as the musical tunes played on the stage. It is a rhythmic image because the above proceedings are conﬁned to a certain lapse of time, during which the tempo of the action changes from slow to rapid according to the pulsation of the artists-creators, or the musical requirements of the piece. Through real manifestations, because people on the stage use their
eyes in order to see, their throat and tongue to talk and their legs and arms to move; the scenery is painted on canvas or cardboard with brushes and paints mixed according to the artist’s actual will. In other words, everything that occurs on the stage is real. An imaginary life because every artist in his desire to create a bit of
“better life” uses his imagination to improve reality. Shakespeare’s Venice is much better than the real one, and all the drunkards in the world could not beat the “ideal” drunkard Falstaﬀ. An imaginary place because the artist painting the set of a battleﬁeld
does not travel to Waterloo to get the actual scene of this place but uses an imaginary and more impressive landscape. Imaginary people because none of the historical characters created by
the imagination of poets, playwrights and actors has anything to do with
as imagined by existed. Clear feelings;, because only a clear and plain human feeling can be
accepted and understood by the audience. As a chord of an instrument would respond only to a pure tone of an identical tuning, so would a human soul respond only to a clear and kindred feeling. Precise feelings,; because every art is knowledge, and knowledge does
not accept any haziness or inexactness. A fanciful idea can be accepted only if it has a precise foundation. The King, while hating Hamlet, asks him not to leave for Wittenberg. He expresses his request in a mild and tender way. It may be a request of a snake, but still a request, which should be expressed with precision. Otherwise it would be merely craft and pretense. An artist may design a fantastically long arm, but it must be still an arm with a hand, on which one could lean. Natural feelings, because the human mind can never invent such vari-
ety and abundance of feelings as supplied by nature. The musicians of the whole world will never be able to use all the combinations that they could bring out from the eight fundamental tones known in music. The same holds true regarding the few fundamental human feelings; the greatest genius in the world would not be able to invent a new one, – all he can do is to make combinations of those suggested to him by nature. Emotions of the human soul; because the theatre is the art of investing
the spiritual emotions of man in a visible form. If a man does not know how to enjoy himself he cannot impersonate joy on the stage, just as an artist cannot design an arm if he has not seen a real one. If, on the other hand, an actor tries to represent joy without actually having experienced it, but just imitating its outer expressions, he would not be an actor but merely a parrot or a photographer.