As a person who’s not that familiar with theatre plays and only went to Broadway play once when traveling in New York for the first time, these two readings are really interesting for me to see how the authors view plays and also the whole industry.
The two readings both view theatre as a thing that keeps changing like liquid rather than a rigid designed object, which inspired me most. However, they still discussed the topic in different ways and perspectives. In “Visits to a small planet”, Elinor Fuchs mentioned in the third part to look at the world dynamically by think about how the world changes as it moves in time. The whole article asked us try to consider all the elements as much as possible to build the planet of the play and nothing occurs “by chance”. Meanwhile “The Empty Space” focused more on breaking the old unchanged rules and impressions and keep the whole process more open.
Peter Brook talked about how the whole production kept repeating in the similar way. The rules of play have been deeply grown in people’s head, not only the actors but also the audiences. He mentioned how the “actor” acted differently before and after knowing “what emotion she supposed to have”. Everyone expected the same thing for a certain emotion and totally forgot the real life. To me, as an audience and designer, I personally think it’s both a bad thing and good thing. Thinking about people going to theatre or cinema, or anywhere that is telling a story in a space. They are not real and actually all the stages are very different from real life. But when audience knowing where they are going, they already accept the logic and rules of the space. They are easy to be convinced. It can also be a good thing for the creators to use.
Besides, I think it’s also interesting that Peter Brook discussed how different audience and financial issues effect the actors and the same play. He also suggested that the designers should keep the space open instead of making a perfect design that has no space for change or imaginations. I don’t know if they count as the “accidents” which Elinor Fuchs said we should assume that won’t happen in the world of play.
So personally, I think it’s important to build the world before creating characters and writing the stories. It’s necessary to ask as many as possible questions about the world and get answers based on real life experience. However, we should also always keep an open space for the play until the last minute. A good play to me should have different levels for different people to interact with and emotionally connect to, and should have open space for audiences imagine and create based on their different experiences.