A very brief critical reflection I did for uni.
The theatre space experience
When I was in primary school in Sydney, we performed the play The Flying Pieman which was about a man, William Francis King in the early settler/colonial days of Sydney. As it was a musical, there were some dramas finding out who had the best voices for each part, and then there was the additional issue of the student actually wanting to play the part (stage fright and embarrassment!). The themes of the play – honesty and fighting the good fight for the love of a woman were possibly too profound for a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds and we mainly saw it as an opportunity to dress up and design props and move things about on a stage.
This moving things around and arranging props was fun, I do remember that. We spent substantial time making the props and making sure they didn’t look like the masonite and cardboard 2D fakes they were. Same with figuring where we would all stand in the play – which side of the stage would be do our entrances and exits. Blocking the set, as the industry calls it. I think by the time the play went live, we were all theatre-staging experts in our own child-like way.
By Peter Brook’s definition, it most likely would be a deadly play as we performed it, having zero commercial appeal. We performed it for school mates, parents and friends, who, if I recall correctly, received it well.
Brook P 1990, The empty space, Penguin: London