The Work of Living Art: A Theory of the Theatre

By Adolphe Appia; Barnard Hewitt et al. | Go to book overview

3. LIVING SPACE

THUS FAR we have been chiefly concerned with music and with the living body. We touched upon the idea of space only through our discussion of bodily movements and of their regulation by means of musical time-units. But now these movements are going to be developed in the space which surrounds them, the atmosphere which envelopes them, and are going to seek allies in both.

The body is the interpreter of music for inanimate and inarticulate forms. Hence we can momentarily disregard music; the body, having absorbed it and being able to represent it in space, can guide us henceforth.

The body reclining, seated, or standing expresses itself in space by the movements of the arms, combined with the more limited ones of the torso and the head. Even when stationary, the legs maintain an appearance of mobility; their normal function, however, is to make actual movements in space. From the first, then, we can distinguish two types of planes: planes intended for movement, faster or slower, as the case may be, and subject to interruption; and those which exclude movement, serving to heighten the general effect of the body. These two types obviously overlap; only the moving presence of the body can determine to which class any single example belongs. For example, inclined planes, and especially stairways, could be considered participants in both types. However, the obstacle they offer to free movement and the expression they thereby give rise to in the organism are derived from the vertical plane.

We shall have to reckon, then, with two planes: first, the horizontal, for before all else, the body must rest on a plane,

-25-

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The Work of Living Art: A Theory of the Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Books of the Theatre Series iii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Adolphe Appia and "The Work of Living Art" xi
  • Preface 1
  • 1. the Elements 3
  • 2. Living Time 19
  • 3. Living Space 25
  • 4. Living Color 31
  • 5. Organic Unity 38
  • 6. Collaboration 59
  • 7. the Great Unknown and the Experience of Beauty 68
  • 8. Bearers of the Flame 79
  • Designs 83
  • Adolphe Appia's "Man is the Measure of All Things" (protagoras) 123
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