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‘Here, and here, and here’

Raummimesis und Raumperformanz in der Gerichtsszene des ‚Lear‘

Andreas Mahler

Pages 5 - 15

Theatre shows and uses space, but it also makes space. This addresses the difference between a mimetic use of theatrical spatiality creating and representing a ‘world’ and a performative use presenting and evoking something spatial before our mind’s eye. The present article takes the trial scene from William Shakespeare’s ‚The Tragedy of King Lear‘ (3.6) and analyses it with regard to its foregrounding of the space-making qualities of theatre by distinguishing a first spatial deictic centre in the material ‘here’ of the stage on which the play is produced, a second – mimetic – ‘here’ in the shelter of the ‘hut’ offered by Gloucester to the characters trying to escape from the exasperating experiences on the heath, as well as a third – performative – ‘here’ momentarily evoked by Lear himself to be able to cope with his daughters’ ingratitude after his infelicitous division of the country. This complex simultaneous overlay of different pragmatic situations, however, it is argued, is finally and self-consciously ‘exploded’ by the Fool – and Shakespeare himself – with his reference to the mere material ‘joint-stool’ on the stage, which in the end undeniably as well as ironically foregrounds the intrinsic doubleness of all theatrical – and aesthetic – experience.


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