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Surfaces, depths and hypercubes: Meyerholdian scenography and the fourth dimension

Skinner, Amy


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Dr Amy Skinner
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Practice


An appreciation of Meyerhold’s engagement with theatrical space is fundamental to understanding his directorial and pedagogic practice. This article begins by establishing Meyerhold’s theoretical and practical engagement with theatre as a fundamentally scenographic process, arguing for a reconceptualisation of the director as ‘director-scenographer’. Focusing on the construction of depth and surface in Meyerholdian theatre, the article goes on to identify trends in the director’s approach to space, with an emphasis on the de-naturalisation of depth on stage. This denaturalisation is seen as taking three forms: the rejection of depth as a prerequisite in theatrical space, the acknowledgement of the two-dimensional surface as surface, and the restructuring of depth space into a series of restricted planes. The combination of these trends indicates a consistent and systematic process of experimentation in Meyerhold’s work. In addition, this emphasis on depth and surface, and the interaction between the two, also highlights the contextualisation of Meyerhold’s practice within the visual, philosophical and scientific culture of the early twentieth century, echoing the innovations in n-dimensional geometry and particularly, the model of the fourth spatial dimension seen in the work of Russian philosopher P. D. Ouspensky.


Skinner, A. (2015). Surfaces, depths and hypercubes: Meyerholdian scenography and the fourth dimension. Theatre and performance design, 1(3), 204-219.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 25, 2016
Publication Date Jul 3, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Theatre and performance design
Print ISSN 2332-2551
Electronic ISSN 2332-2578
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 3
Pages 204-219
Keywords Meyerhold, V. E. (Vsevolod Emil'evich), 1874-1940, Russian theatre, Russian scenography, Cubism, Visual art, Plastic arts
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Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Theatre and performance design on 25/01/2016, available online:


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