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This still shows the method of my first interpretation.  The actors were recorded simultaneously on Zoom performing the signature scene from The Caucasian Chalk Circle.  The scene takes place at the moment when Azdak takes away Grusha’s child, whom he later places inside a chalk circle. At this moment, all the characters engage and respond from their own circle of stasis. Grusha, the peasant mother, has witnessed their child snatched away in the hands of the corrupt, drunk judge Azdak. While knowing that she might have to compete in strength to win her child, the Governess scorns her rival but is also in shock. At the same time, two lawyers quarrel over personal conflicts. Other spectators, the cook, and Simon, are immersed in the scene. 

 I was aiming for dimensionality on a flat-screen. This takes place as the gaze of the viewer moves from character to character. Usually, when characters speak on stage, audiences move their attention toward the speaker. But here, the responses of all the characters are recorded simultaneously. Major and minor characters form a visual whole. A sense of hierarchy of perception is preserved by the ordering of the boxes in a particular grid, but most people who watch the scene say that they found themselves often looking at who was not speaking. The director usually needs to know what is going on all over the stage, but here, the actors also do. It also means acting with complete awareness of all the other actors in what is, after all, tantamount to an artificial grid.   In such a situation, all the actors become primary. A viewer can examine the response to any specific character at any moment.  I noticed a real fusion in the actors as an ensemble.  Seeing the early takes, they became aware that their performance was being continually presented in rough equality with all the others.  It gave to the scene the sense that the theater was, in practice as well as theory, a collective--just that collectivity the Brecht strove for in his own directing of the Berliner Ensemble in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Effective representation in the theater depends on the space of the theater not being overcrowded.  By overcrowding, I mean the tendency of a stage to become perceptually confused unless it has two or three main focal points. Any production on a screen depends on a sense of visual balance with the four borders of the screen.  There are obvious comparisons with the perceptual dynamics of easel art.  These fascinating aspects of composition apply in set design. In my production, Azdak is surrounded by two screens of black. Positioned in center stage, his screen image is enlarged.   Visually this triangulates the space.  Azdak is positioned at the high point of the triangle, which makes him a natural point of focus.  The two lower points of the triangle can vary, depending on who is speaking and why.  The sense of the triangle gives visual stability to what, otherwise, could be an undifferentiated checkerboard pattern.  The tendency at all times in this triangle is to have at least three points of simultaneous focus, but no more.  This effectively prevents overcrowding in what is actually a busy space of multiple images. 

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