IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF truths in a theatrical, fashion and art context, glass and windows can play a discrete yet significant role. A material that moves between obstruction and amplification – being used to focus or divide subjects on a stage – glass reinforces theatre and fashion’s tradition of trickery and deception.
A person on stage has a dual experience: as witness to immediacy of her own presence, and also as a spectacle consumed by the audience. This parallel positioning and distance is manipulated even further by the use of glass, whereby the image of a subject might be fragmented, divided or isolated as a figure on stage.
‘Geometric forms inhabited and activated by the presence of the viewer, [producing] a sense of uneasiness and psychological alienation through a constant play between feelings of inclusion and exclusion.’
– Dan Graham
‘Within theatrical jargon a syntagm fourth wall stands for the imaginary, fictive partition between the actor and the audience […] Spy-glass mirror acting as the front wall of the cube, separates the encapsulated stage from the voyeurist audience, which the actors now cannot see, facing instead their own multiplied image.’
– Description of ‘Inferno / Divine Comedy’ directed by Tomaz Pandur and written by Dante Alighieri, at the National Theatre Maria Guerrero, Madrid 2005.
‘[…] the front gauze flew up and the lights brightened to reveal an impressive, appropriately rather gloomy set, with huge windows set at an angle and letting us understand that the “cart” had, in fact, been a centrally placed four-poster bed […]’
– ‘The Turn of the Screw’ directed by Benjamin Britten, 2010, review by Peter Lathan for The British Theatre Guide.