Treading the Boards: the Significance of Walking on the Stage

Darby, Kris (2014) Treading the Boards: the Significance of Walking on the Stage. New Theatre Quarterly, 30 (4). pp. 365-378. ISSN 0266-464X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X14000700

Abstract

This article examines the significance of walking on the theatre stage, responding to the growing research scholarship of pedestrian performance. It seeks to provide a point of expansion for a field that is still largely concerned with site-specific works where audiences walk during the performance. Beginning with a discussion as to the possible reasons for its omission, the author addresses the prominence of walking and the journey as a rehearsal tool employed by a wealth of practitioners. As further justification for the inclusion of the stage in pedestrian performance research, a series of historical case studies are presented, which span over a century of theatrical history. There is an examination of the audience’s pilgrimage to Richard Wagner’s Parsifal (1882) and the ‘epic flow’ of Erwin Piscator’s treadmill in Good Soldier Schwejk (1927). The significance of walking in Samuel Beckett’s life is also explored through the ‘inward walking’ of Footfalls (1976) and the proscenium staging of Matthew Earnest’s Wanderlust (2010) is made significant through its critique of supermodernity. The article concludes in arguing that an immobile audience can kinaesthetically empathise with the performers, embarking on their own internalised journey within the theatre. Kris Darby is a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in Drama at Liverpool Hope whose research interests concern the relationship between walking and performance.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: walking, journey, feet, immobility, kinaesthetic empathy
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Drama,Dance and Performance Studies
Depositing User: Kris Darby
Date Deposited: 29 May 2016 15:02
Last Modified: 29 May 2016 15:02
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1387

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