Off-stage Space



In performance, Shakespeare’s plays appear to occupy a space far wider and deeper than any stage. The persons of a drama arrive as if from other places, sometimes from long distances, sometimes from within earshot, and the course of a story will often depend on off-stage action that is independent of any event shown on-stage. Since it is never visible, neither text nor actors can do more than suggest the presence of this off-stage space; it needs to draw upon the imaginations of spectators if it is to become effective. Doing so will involve them closely with the play’s action by making it seem to take place within the space of their own minds.


Theatrical Event Tragic Hero Event Famine Shakespeare Play Holy Shrine 
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  1. 4.
    See G. P. V. Akrigg, Jacobean Pageant, or the Court of King James I (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1962), pp. 248–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© John Russell Brown 2002

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