The Fourth Wall is a term to describe the invisible wall between the audience and the actors on-stage. Storytellers tend to say that in storytelling this wall does not exist; That we create direct communication with our audiences and therefor a wall can not stand there. The fourth wall is invisible, even in classical theater it is not really there. So why was this concept created? is it useful? does it solely have to do with interaction? does it really emphasize the fact that we are looking at something ‘not real’? is theater not real? and in what ways does this differ than storytelling? we tell a lot which is not real, so?
I can only ponder as a storyteller. There is something there. I wouldn’t call it a wall, it feels more like a flexible screen or film, a biological diaphragm. It’s also not fixed in one place as if stretched over a frame, it moves around with me. It’s inside me in a way, in my eyes but it is also outside of my body, most of the time in front of my eyes but I can also sometimes feel it around me.
Maybe it is the feeling of awareness. I look at it all the time when I tell a story, that is where I see the story happen, but it’s not flat like a screen in the movies. I also see the audience through it. I look at them, I talk too them but there is something there. Is it in between us? It’s like driving a car – I see the view and the road, I see the dashboard and I am in the scene in action. Passing through time and space is a sort of vehicle but this vehicle does not separate me from what I see it only contains.
This feeling allows interactions. Something moves from me to the audience and back from them to me. Constantly. The same motion happens between me and story. Sometimes I am story but this feeling is still there. There is oneness and there is a separation. Sometimes I use this separation as a trick, walking through it while demonstrating I am doing so. But in anycase I can’t call it a wall.
Just my pondering and I’ll be happy to read yours too.