Landscape as Playground
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A theatre performance in a landscape is a form of play that borrows the body of the landscape to stand for something fictional that perhaps happened in another place in a different time. A gesture or a word can transform an object or an environment into a fictional one without changing its physical appearance. Scenography, which is traditionally regarded as a visual form of art, can be perceived only by participating in it, by accepting the agreements and transformations proposed in play. In the framework of hermeneutics and phenomenological environmental aesthetics this interdisciplinary research argues that the aesthetic experience of scenography as a play environment is a process of aesthetic engagement that places the perceiver in the environment as its active constituent. On the example of Estonian open-air theatre productions the dissertation shows that this engagement takes place by creating subjective meaningful centres of the environment – places – the experience of which reaches beyond play.