Principle of multi-mise-en-scène.


«If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired». This Chekhov`s statement is well-known dramatic principle. But we can also define it as “linear mise en scene principle”. It means: nothing in excess is on the stage: acting, scenery, lighting equipment – all this works for empathy and holding the viewer's attention. In this case, a pistol - scenery, lighting equipment – something that lives while performance continues. But then it closes, the curtain falls and everybody goes home.

Eternal unsolved problems of the theater are the problems of the boundaries. Any more or less talented director tries to solve the problem of the borders between actor and spectator, the problem of the borders between the stage and the audience when he puts on each performance. But no one tries to solve the problem of the curtain, despite the fact that it is the major problem in the theater.

            What is the problem of the curtain? Let`s imagine, you are a theatre goer, you`ve seen an interesting play, it closed, but you want to extend this feeling, and furthermore you want to become the part of this world even for a moment. Is it possible?

Of course not!


Because the technologies, which can help to realize my dream, don`t exist.

And what if they exist?

This is natural if you don`t find the One Ring on your table and don`t see Gollum consuming raw fish in your closet after reading "The Lord of the Rings". It is a fact of life. A human dies when there is cessation of all biological functions that sustain an organism. A performance dies for an audience, after the curtain falls. Curtain is the boundary for an audience, which none of directors managed to overcome, moreover they pretend that this problem doesn`t exist. But there is the principle of multi mise en scene which overcomes the curtain`s boundary, moreover there are different ways to do it.

For example, scenery and lighting solutions will be based on the principle of art installation, and the process of their construction will become an individual performance, which won`t destroy the overall progress of the play, but combined with music and acting will have its own artistic value. So what is special about this idea, you may ask, the play will close as usual, the curtain will fall, and I will return home again and see the same streets and the same faces. And now imagine: you come to a theater, buy a ticket, everything comes as usual, but with one small "but" there is a note on your ticket that the second act will be held the next day in another place. Well, performance which is held two nights is not something really new. You enter, take your seat and watch the play to the end. But you don`t understand what a second act can be, for example, in "Hamlet" after Fortinbras:

“Take up the bodies: such a sight as this

Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.

Go, bid the soldiers shoot.”

Nevertheless, next evening you come to the place, where the second act must be held. You see an art gallery instead of a theatre. But you are not embarrassed by this fact, because you take it as a new director's idea. You enter, wait some time in a queue, move through a corridor, hear a call like in a theatre, open the door and … you are not in the auditorium, but in the acting area, in the artistic space which was created before your eyes yesterday. As opposed to film production there aren`t any close-ups or mid shots at the theatre. Of course, I can`t put the One Ring on your table and box in Gollum into your closet. But using the principle of multi mise en scene, I can lead you to the cave where he was a minute ago, and where it still smells of fresh fish. During this unusual second act gallery space destroys the “box” of the stage, and, consequently barriers for your perception, and therefore it means that, dreams come true! Before the principle of multi mise en scene, theater can be compared with the installation of Joseph Kosuth "One and three chairs". It consists of one real chair, photo of the same chair and the text from an encyclopedia explaining the meaning of the word "chair". The same situation is with the theater: they show you a “chair”, they tell you about a “chair”, they even can sometimes hit in your head with this “chair”. But only after the emergence of the principle of multi mise en scene you finally were given the opportunity to sit on this “chair”. And if a performance will be divided into three suppositive acts, an audience will get a truly cumulative emotional effect. In our conditional first act - linear mise en scene we have the classic triad of theater: an audience - an actor - a stage. In the second act or reverse mise en scene there isn`t any stage, and a theatergoer becomes the part of the performance. And in the third act there are no actors, there are only an audience and a huge art installation created by an artist in front of it in the first act. It is difficult to talk about any mise en scene in this case, because on the one hand, there are no actors, and on the other - there is an audience, that`s why let`s call it "zero mise en scene". The principle of multi-mise-en-scène gives the opportunity to combine them into a united composition, going on in time and space. A theatergoer is an observer, but not a participant of the artistic process, also at the theatre there aren`t any close-ups like in movies, but a conditional second act in multi-mise-en-scène theater cancels this limitation, and a theatergoer comes into the performance space as an observer and a participant at the same time. Moreover, the performance, passing through a series of transformations, eventually hardens in a material form created by an artist. Of course, classic theatrical scenery doesn`t fit for such a materialization. For example, it can be realized as an installation, created during a performance, or an abstract painting made on the stage during a performance, which is a recording by an artist of whole thing happen on a stage and in an auditorium, and then it can be exposed as a complete art work, which absorbed the experience both actors and an audience.

Multi-mise-en-scène is completely new synthetic art, art combining features both theater and visual arts. Moreover, “the principle of multi-mise-en-scène” equally well works at repertory theater, and at experimental theater. This is not just a single artistic success, but the technology which is suitable for any theatre of any city in the world. Of course, the technology of constructing a multi-mise-en-scène has its own particular qualities, such as the stereoscopy of setting scenery, appearance of a new participant of stage acting - intraframer, and a number of others, but I am sure that any theater director can understand and master them.

Ideally, of course, all three acts should take place during one evening and in the same place which is multi-mise-en-scène theater, having features of both theater and art gallery, and I hope that it will soon appear in your country.