chapter  3
Visual Secondary Sources
Pages 32

A historical work is like a theatrical performance. In order to fully enjoy the event, theater patrons must suspend disbelief, that is, must understand that what they are looking at is not “real” but something that pretends to be real. Theater patrons know that what they are looking at is a set, not Elizabethan London or Neil Simon’s New York. They know that the people in front of them are actors, not the people they claim to represent. The theatergoers understand that time and space on the stage are not real. Thus, several years may pass by in a two-hour performance, or the characters may pull the audience along between several places even though no one has physically left the building. Yet despite the unreality of the theater, theatergoers anticipate that they might gain some real understanding about human nature via the people, places, and events falsified on the stage.