chapter  8
22 Pages

Environments, Places, and Contextual Theodramatics

Underlying, surrounding, and permeating every personal dimension of theatrical formation and performance-relationships between actors and the director, others actors, and the audience-is the pervasive theatrical environment and place. Theatre as an art form is unique because the “same” word-“theater”—also refers to the location where theatrical performance occurs. This is a fitting congruence, because theatre is a uniquely environmental, emplaced, embodied, and material art form. As Gay McAuley contends, theatre is communication between live actors and live spectators within a given space. Although it is true that theatre can take place anywhere, it always takes place somewhere.1 Attempting to define the “somewhere” of theatre, however, is a notoriously difficult task. McAuley discusses the “terminological minefield” in this regard, identifying the difference between theatre space, rehearsal space, stage space, presentational space, theatrical space, textual space, and thematic space, all of which attempt to distinguish between space that is real or fictional, physical or non-physical, onstage or offstage.2 While these distinctions are important in the realm of theatrical semiotics, the most important distinction for the purpose of this project is between the theatrical environment, or the physical stage, set, scenery, and props of any given performance, and the theatrical place, or the larger context in which theatrical performance is situated,

including the fictional world of the play, the real world of actors and audience, and the local culture in which plays are written, produced and performed.3