This essay concentrates on a relatively neglected aspect of theater reconstructions, namely, the various ways the “reconstructed space” impacts today's spectator, an impact that is substantially different from the impact the original building had on the Elizabethan audience. When a historical building, such as the Globe or the Fortune, is reconstructed, it seems as if two temporal and spatial structures are blended and staged. The theater becomes a sign of the past brought into the present of the local inhabitants or visitors; thus it is not only a piece of architecture but a sign of something it is not—the original building. We may therefore talk of theatricality, of created fictionality, and of the theater building being staged as if in a performance. It becomes an inseparable material component of every production presented on its stage. This is why, among other reasons, reconstructed buildings create a theatrical atmosphere. It may be said that a layer of fictionality is inscribed in the material substance of the building, creating meanings that were not part of the original, because the original was not a historical monument or a reconstruction. It also functioned within its original context, which was not historical at all (the example of staging the Chaste Maid in Cheapside is used here). The semiosis of the theater results in the specific performative function of architecture, which is staged in a historical costume for modern audiences.
Research Article| December 01 2014
Jerzy Limon; Elizabethan Theater Reconstructions Reconsidered: Some Theoretical Aspects of Time-Space-Audience Relationships. Poetics Today 1 December 2014; 35 (4): 539–560. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2873575
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