This article examines a particular aesthetic experience that is brought about by a destabilization, even a collapsing, of the dichotomous pair of concepts the ‘real’ and the ‘fictional’. While a tension between the two, even in differing degrees, proves characteristic of all kinds of theatre, recent developments on European stages emphasize this tension. In the paper it is examined with respect to 1) the actors' bodies and 2) the theatrical spaces. In each case, the point of departure is two examples which are analysed with regard to the particular function that the tension between the real and the fictional might serve. It is argued that what in everyday life is neatly separated into two different worlds to be fully grasped by the dichotomous pair of concepts becomes blurred in the performances discussed here. The particular aesthetic experience coming into being in such performances is an experience of ‘betwixt and between’ (Turner) – a liminal experience. This way, they stimulate a new discussion of the concept of aesthetic experience, so central to all forms of art in the Western world since 1800.