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Creating a Movement Space: the Passageway in Noh and Greek Theatres

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2003


Keir Elam's observation in 1980 that ‘the theatrical text is defined and perceived above all in spatial terms’ reflected a growing attention to the significance of spatial organization and utilization in creative and perceptive processes in the theatre. In the last twenty years space has found its long-deserved status as a prominent feature of the theatrical experience and a key element in theatre studies. In this article Kinneret Noy focuses on a unique spatial component shared by two theatrical traditions – the Greek and the Japanese. By comparing and contrasting the function of the eisodos in the Greek theatre with that of the hashigakari in the Japanese Noh, she offers a fresh look at both forms. The spatial relation between the passageway and the main ‘stage’ create what Mitsuo Inoue terms a ‘movement space’. Noy borrows this term from Japanese architecture to point the connection between theatrical space and dramatic techniques. After discussing the main characteristics of a ‘movement space’ in the theatre she deals with the differences that exist between Noh and Greek theatres' spatial qualities, suggesting some connections between developments in the theatres and social and political changes. A graduate from the University of Pittsburgh (1997), Kinneret Noy studied with the Noh master Takabayshi Shinji in Kyoto, and currently teaches in the Theatre Department and East Asian Department of Haifa University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Research Article
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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