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TheatreFrahmAt times I discuss with non-theatre people about the perception of theatre, stage and backstage, about my fascination with the inner workings of the thing… And I realise now – but it’s taken some time – that it’s perfectly possible to not like to have the illusion shattered. Having been the sort of child who did take toys apart to see how they worked, and still being the sort who likes to take stories apart to study them, sometimes I tend to forget it’s not everyone’s cup of tea…

After all, as writers, actors, directors, lighting designers and what not, our job is to create the illusion, to make it work, to keep it in place within the enchanted circle of suspended disbelief…

Still, at times the urge to share what it’s like to see the world from the stage (or behind it) is strong. Have a look, for instance, at German photographer Klaus Frahm’s The Fourth Wall, a beautiful series of photographs of theatres – shown from the stage. My friend D. pointed me to it, for which I’m very thankful. It’s quite fascinating to see the contrast between the two worlds divided by a curtain…

And while we are at it, you may as well check out the work of David Leventi, who literally moves a step ahead and takes images of opera houses not from backstage, but from the stage itself – centre-stage, specifically, where an opera singer would stand to deliver his main arias. Leventi tries to reproduce with his lights the way a singer’s voice would fill the house… again: fascinating.

Both series offer a somewhat stylised take of “backstage”, showing empty houses, without the concentrated bustle and apparent chaos of performance, without the thrilling tension humming between stage and full audience… But still, it is an intriguing look at theatre – seen the other way ’round.

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