Five walls of theatre

Modern theatre is trapped behind five walls, all of which need to be removed:

The first is the wall between the actor and the actor himself, his instrument. This is a relationship full of paradox, and so difficult to solve without falling into narcissism.

The second is the wall between the actor and his material, his character, his text etc. Here the work begins with identification and transformation, and leads to questions of responsibility and a sense of ownership of ones creation.

The third is the wall between the actor and his partner on the stage, the other actor. To really listen, even while under the pressures of performance, takes great courage. The other actor must be allowed to be more than just a piece of stage furniture that happens to talk.

Next is the well-known fourth wall between the actor and the audience. As Brook says, the essence of theatricality is Of course it is not real. To respect the audience is to recognize them as active participants in an act of the imagination.

And finally the fifth wall is that between those people who go to the theatre and those who do not. If the fifth wall is to crumble, the other four will have to fall first.

Glossary
Jonathan Paul Cook 2010