I am reflecting on the use of space and how it influences dialogue, and more broadly communication (though they are essentially the same thing… flow of meaning.) Found an interesting article:
I have been wondering how courts and juries fir into the history of all of this… and there is a clue here!
How might a restorative justice space look?
The biggest question on my mind though is how we use space in cyberspace – and how we can create more intentional dialogue.
The use of space has a profound effect on the audience; in ‘orthodox’ theatre, the lit proscenium stage contrasts with the darkened space of the auditorium and the effect is one of alienation: the audience is aware of a barrier between themselves and the performers, a concept that was entirely absent from the ancient Greek theatre experience. Interestingly, directors often toy with the notions of audience visibility and the breeching of the invisible ‘us and them’ barriers. Peter Hall’s famous 1981 National Theatre production of the Oresteia (DB ref. no. 207) climaxed with the Furies (transformed into the Eumenides) progressing up the steps of the Olivier auditorium as the lights rose to incorporate both masked performers and the audience into the ritual as the audience found themselves cast in the role of Athenian citizens. This was also the case in Katie Mitchell’s Oresteia (1999). In the second of the two parts, The Daughters of Darkness, the theatre space was transformed into the Athenian Areopagus and, accordingly, Athene addressed the seated and visible audience (lit by the house lights) as ‘Citizens of Athens’ and instructed them,
This is the first case of homicide
To be tried in the court I have established.
The court is yours.
From today every homicide
Shall be tried before this jury Of twelve Athenians.
And this is where you shall sit, on the hill of Ares.
Not all uses of theatre space or conscientious attempts to break down audience boundaries are as successful. The (2000) production of Aristophanes’ Peace by Chloë Productions at London’s Riverside Theatre (DB Ref. no. 877), in the scene in which the chorus drags away the stone that keeps Peace hidden within her cave, encouraged audience participation by handing them lengths of rope and asking them to haul along with the masked cast. As the cast moved among the audience and coaxed them into action, there arose (from personal experience) a distinct feeling of unease among the passive spectators. In this sense, the attempt to open up the use of theatre space unfortunately failed.