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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the dynamic construction of the off-stage space and the ways in which it renders the stage radically incomplete. More specifically, it considers how early modern performance replaces the absolute, sacred, and cosmic space of medieval performance with a newly secularized space of representation that could become fictional in a way that the medieval stage could not. To highlight the moment when the stage is empty and the audience is listening to an off-stage sound effect, the chapter offers a reading of the tragedy The Insatiate Countess. It shows that the playhouse stage is not an ‘absolute space’, but is irreducibly relational: a space-between, a threshold. It explains how this threshold might work in theatrical practice through an analysis of Richard III. It also discusses Arden of Faversham to demonstrate that the domestic version of ‘within’ has one spatial signification in particular: it is the woman’s place. Finally, it looks at the tiring-house as domestic chamber to illustrate the doctrine that certain things are withdrawn from view because they are forbidden.

Keywords: off-stage, early modern performance, representation, sound effect, The Insatiate Countess, threshold, Richard III, Arden of Faversham, woman’s place, tiring-house

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