2009 : Spectator -> Audience -> Public

PLAYING with Spectator

Name your game

"Give and Take" -- same as before.


Stage Directing * part 4. Show Experience = Public
I wrote that "mise-en-scene" is "film directing without camera" -- and I suspect that I'm missing something, thinking that the secondary motion in theatre is missing (camera). I am like a chained monkey with this topic of spectator! I have SPECTATOR page almost in every subject directory! Well, our experience in arts always starts with being a spectator.
Virtual Theatre Group

Studying directing, acting, drama?

No! We study spectator, our public!

I wish I could propose a new course required for theatre majors -- The Basics of Spectatorship. After all, all theatre "professions" start there. Spectator is a theatrical innocent lover...

Spectator is the beginning of THEATRE, he is the creator of the show...

You don't believe me?

But of course! There is not a single decent book on the subject! I mean, theory of it (not the textbooks on theatre appreciation).

I am sure somebody will write this book one day. The new Virtual Theatre will make this old secret too visible. You, the spectator is about to be in control of the spectacle...

I see, you do not know it yet.

Well, you are in control of ANY show. Peter Brook calls it dead theatre, when public is not the theatre.

What do you think you paying for?

To see, to watch?

No! To write, to act, to direct!


Stanislavsky: In the creative process there is the father, the author of the play; the mother, the actor pregnant with the part; and the child, the role to be born.

Vsevolod Meyerhold
The work of rehearsal is looking for meaning and then making it meaningful. Peter Brook

Theatre Theory


Return to this page after each cycle of directing in order to remember that you MUST re-examine everything from the Spectator's perspective. Script Analysis cycle, Blocking, Mise-en-Scene, Working with Actors and so on.

PART IV. Directing Public

or "Directed by Public"?

How to take directing from THEM...


Oh, not again! I wrote enough about Spectator!


Evaluation of Directing:
Play/Production: _______
Director's Name:


Visual Elements:



Names of Principle Actors and Characters:

Supporting Actors & Characters:

Evaluating the Designs:
Scene Designer/Set:


I keep making the pages "spectator" in every directory, because actor and director have different relationships with the public. Playwrights have their own. I keep saying in class that that actors are the agressive spectators, who couldn't sit still and jump on stage... but DIRECTOR is the altimate spectator, who jumps on stage too, but at end leaves the stage... because his job is done and the spectacle has it own life. Shrew04 As much as the actor adjusts himself with the role so much the role is adjusted to the actor. -- Koun

Tell me and I will forget
show me and I may remember
involve me and I will understand.


textbook -- part 7. The Whole Picture (?) Where to talk that Audience is DIRECTOR?

Action is in THEM!


The performance is ‘all that is made visible or audible on stage’ but is not perceived as a system of meaning or a system of signifying stage systems. It is the concrete object.

The mise en scène is an abstract theoretical concept of the performance, a totality, (an undifferentiated whole) perceived as a system or ensemble of signs working together to produce meaning; an organized ensemble of signs.

The metatext or performance text is an unwritten text comprising the various choices of a mise en scène that the director has consciously or unconsciously made during the rehearsal process, choices that are apprarent in the final product (Pavis 2003, 8).

The performance is the whole material thing that you take in visually and audibly; the mise en scène is its abstract substance, the organizing principles and system of options.

Etymology: Latin, from spectare to watch * Date: circa 1586 * one who looks on or watches *

Aha! Do you understand now why I say "subjective time" and "dramatic space"?

The show doesn't exist outside of the spectator's mind and heart -- and only then it's "dramatic"! On stage? The moment my spectator notices it -- the show is over! No, the true show is not in "physical" time and space. The real machine of theatre is out there, the public!

Before directing a new show I go on this empty stage and look at the house -- so big! So focused on me! Those stranger will become ONE...

I go upstage and look back again -- the silent power machine is here already. The empty seats -- I see their eyes, they give life to everything on stage. The potential energy of theatre is behind the theatre walls.

Director is a professional spectator!

Book of Spectator

Before the preview night I say to actors -- Now you will have the real director. They look at me. "The audience," I say.

The missing part of Theatre Theory -- SpectatorShip (see Doubles and Spectator in 200X Files).


As always, the silent majority is ignored. The spectator doesn't act, direct or write. We are so busy on stage that we forgot to write a book about him -- the black hole, the place where the light is born.

Theatre Space asks for darkness. Only once I went to see Shakespeare in the Central Park. The nature is too distractive, even the night sky is too much! How can I create a new world without blocking out the existing one? I need walls and celling!

I do not direct "happennings"!

SHOWS (Picture is missing : On your right is a typical floor plan ... of a church. Do you see the three familiar zones -- house, stage and back stage (including wings)?

That's where Theatre was for almost one thousand years, known as "Dark Ages"! Yes, our indoor procenium stage was developed at that time. (Usually, we look at the Greeks, although the Romans understood them better and made a stadium out of the open-air theatres). Drama can't be developed further outdoors, it asked for its own architecture, not just a place under the sun.

The real backstage is missing even in Shakespearian times. In my view, the real spectators didn't exist till now. Yes, those 5% of Americans, who went to theatre at least one time, are the spectators... because they went to theatre!

Before it was a place for news, social interaction, near square-street entertainment...

See Spectatorship Concept at Spectatorship directory (also see the Mirror Effect). More in POV -- the phenomena of watching. Also, Self Files at Tripod ("deep theory" directory)


PS. The best is to present Spectatorship through the phenomena of watching film. Here is our spectator is really naked, here he is at WORK. Busy, busy! Putting together shots and cuts, angles and themes... Working like a machine!

No, my friends, the screen is not flat -- there is an anourmous machine behind it, much bigger than in any theatrical production. Just look at the list of credits!

There are no bad spectators, only bad movies. Nature doesn't creat "bad" public (there is no "bad" weather, too -- FYI).

Stanislavsky said that actor must die in his character, director -- in his actors, writer -- in his characters... We all must die in our public!

We die in order for spectacle to be born.

The last, the final performer of this phenomena is you, the spectator.

Should I say -- First?

I should. ....


I call it the TRIANGLE PRINCIPLE (sometimes -- The Golden Triangle), the term I borrowed from the film directing (see Rules page).

Actor A ---------------- x ------------- Actor B (axis = line of tention)


C (Spectator)

C -- the third point is the camera (or spectator in theatre). The action between A nd B can take place only through C: A-C-B and the reaction as B-C-A

Focal Point: Public

The Action Center (x) is between A and B on the line of tention, draw the line from this point to the spectator; this is the dinamic distance. Remember that the final "action" is in the public's minds and hearts.

How to "move" spectator from one point of drama to another? Use the film directing techniques!


Use 9 squares floor plan for your scene and explain it from the Spectator's POV.

The formula: director > text > designers > actors > spectator (both ends are the same)


There are pages in HamletDreams on public as chorus.
Next: back to Staging Spectacle
Theatre/Theory/Theatre From Aristotle's Poetics to Vaclav Havel, the debate about the nature and function of theatre has been marked by controversy. Daniel Gerould's landmark work, Theatre/Theory/Theatre, collects history's most influential Eastern and Western dramatic theorists - poets, playwrights, directors and philosophers - whose ideas about theatre continue to shape its future. In complete texts and choice excerpts spanning centuries, we see an ongoing dialogue and exchange of ideas between actors and directors like Craig and Meyerhold, and writers such as Nietzsche and Yeats. Each of Gerould's introductory essays shows fascinating insight into both the life and the theory of the author. From Horace to Soyinka, Corneille to Brecht, this is an indispensable compendium of the greatest dramatic theory ever written. Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey, from the Greeks to the Present Dr. Carlson does the remarkable by condensing the dominant Western theatre ideals and theories into a series of chapters. Major names and works are cited along with the theories. While a work of this sort cannot go into great detail, this book is a must have for anyone interested in theatre history and theory.

Theatre/Theory: An Introduction

This is a new and enlarged edition of Mark Fortier's very successful and widely used essential text for students. Theory/Theatre provides a unique and engaging introduction to literary theory as it relates to theatre and performance. Fortier lucidly examines current theoretical approaches, from semiotics, postructuralism, through cultural materialism, postcolonial studies and feminist theory. Theory/Theatre is still the only study of its kind and is invaluable reading for beginning students and scholars of performance studies. Theatricality (Theatre and Performance Theory) Specially-commissioned essays explore the element of performance theory known as "theatricality" in six case studies that use specific circumstances to illustrate how the concept of "theatricality" developed. Topics covered include early use of the term; employment of theatricality by other disciplines to describe events; non-Western interpretation of theatricality; and its role in analyzing political and cultural events and philosophies. The book provides an introductory guide for those discovering the complex yet rewarding world of performance theory.

Trans-Global Readings : Crossing Theatrical Boundaries (Theatre: Theory-Practice-Performance)

This book provides a forum for a wide range of theatre, music and performance artists to talk about where they stand in relation to new technologies, intercultural collaborations, and the making of interdisciplinary work. Looking at how time, space and memory play an active role in shaping different artistic visions, editor Caridad Svich has gathered the voices of unique and dynamic artists including Tim Etchells, Rinde Eckert, Richard Foreman, Peter Gabriel, David Greig, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Phelim McDermott and Peter Sellars as a way to examine the impact of globalisation on the creation and development of new work.

Aphrodite - 200X Aesthetics
Modern Theories of Drama: A Selection of Writings on Drama and Theatre 1850-1990 This anthology concentrates on the developments in dramatic theory over the last 150 years, examining its striking instability, the new concepts which have arisen in this century, and the seemingly outdated ones which have been resurrected. Including excerpts from a number of significant figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this book also makes available new and highly accurate translations of some of the better-known pieces from such writers as Emile Zola, Richard Wagner, and Yvan Goll. The anthology is accompanied by an extremely full bibliography of relevant works in English.
[ audience and public pages in THR Theory and Book of Spectator ]