discovery space

Definition

Theater

  • In the Elizabethan theater, a space or spaces on the stagewhere concealed characters could be revealed or 'discovered'. Thediscovery space was at the back of the stage, though scholars disagreeas to its nature. It may have been a pavilion structure, a medieval'mansion', or a miniature proscenium stage screened by a curtain thatwould be opened for the discovery (see inner stage).Large props and set pieces were probably stored there when not inuse. Discovery scenes abound in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama; oneof the best known occurs in the last act of Shakespeare's The Tempest(1611), when Ferdinand and Miranda are 'discovered' playing chess.The Cockpit in the Court Theatre, London, had five entrances apparentlyserving as discovery spaces. The Corral del Principe in Spain (seecorrales de comedias) had a central opening nine feetdeep at the rear of the stage for this purpose.
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