A thought about space

creating dynamic presence



It is the space between that tells the story.


Imagine for a moment that 2 people are standing center on an empty stage. They are standing shoulder to shoulder and neutral with their arms rested to their side. The expression on their faces is also neutral. Imagine what you might think or feel by seeing this image as an audience member. Now imagine that one person moves 4 steps downstage towards the audience while the other person stays in place, center stage. Again, the facial expressions and the body remain neutral. Can you imagine this in your mind? How did this shift change the relationship between the 2 bodies in space? Did the status change? Is there one person that you are drawn to over the other? Why? What is the story that emerges from noticing the space between the 2 bodies?


Now imagine that a podium is placed in the space just to the right of the person closest to the audience. Did the story change? What questions arise for you?


Whether we are on stage to deliver a presentation or to bring a playwright or choreographer’s vision to life, it is important to understand your relationship to the space and to the objects and to the bodies that occupy that space. It is one thing to stand on a red circle and deliver a talk, but how does this red circle inform your talk? How do the seats, the walls that surround you, the screen behind you, the space beyond the wings, the bodies in the seats, how do all of these things that occupy the space with you, inform how you tell your story? What would happen if the podium wasn’t there? How has this changed the story for your audience?


By opening your awareness, this is one example of how space, and what occupies it, can inform your performance.