Three Rectangles of White. John Iacovelli suggested at the production meeting two weeks ago that instead of painting the entire space white, we paint a rectangle of white on the black stage and part of the back wall. I’ve been considering this during the past week’s rehearsals and have decided to use the idea. We will have three rectangles of white: 1. The muslin canopy over the stage. 2. A white rectangle painted directly beneath it on the floor in the same dimensions as the canopy. 3. And another painted on the back wall (in the same dimensions as the first two) covering the inner above (and perhaps part of the inner below). The doors to the inner above will, however, remain open revealing the RP screen behind them.
Playing space. The rectangle will give us two defined areas of floor: the white playing space and the margin, a black band around the outside of the playing space. These will serve as two distinct zones for the players to use and will provide a separation between (for lack of better words) fantasy and reality. The players exist in fantasy, the audience, reality. When one of the players makes an exit into the black space, they become audience. They sit and witness. They’re safe. The agents of action within the play cannot harm them. One moment in which this separation will serve us is during the fight between Hermia and Helena. Hermia chases Helena out of the space, when Helena makes it to the black she can turn back to Hermia triumphantly like a child playing tag who makes it to home base and celebrate the invulnerability granted her by the black area. Lighting, in as much as is possible, should help with this division.
Fairies in the margin. When Puck, Titania and Oberon are in the margin they can address the audience, they can play to each other without the players on the white space “hearing.” When they step into the white area with a mortal, they can be seen. Puck, while tormenting the two men, might streak behind them across the space. These kinds of games will give an immediacy to the actions and make the separation between the dream space and the waking space tangible. We should push this idea to its limits and not just accept it as a stage convention, but something of use that will heighten the play between the players.