I want to be clear that the audience that is discussed here is not a group of people who have any involvement in the creative process of the scenography work, but instead participate in the finished product.
The scenery will help the audience to understand how they relate to the play work.
The zoning of the space usually places the viewers interacting, in a more or less evident way, with elements which are distributed around the performing space: the stage, seats, or some objects. The illumination of certain areas and/or the addition of sound, helps to direct attention to the areas of interest. At other times, the actors themselves will lead the people to consider the position they should take. Finally, the very architecture and topography of the place has the power to inform the audience.
Set designers should understand the space accurately to allow the audience to find the place they should locate to best relate with the show.
Whereas, as we’ve already discuss in previous posts, designers work can continue exploring the multisensory perception of the audience. It might be interesting to work to achieve a false-autonomous self location of that audience. And, of course, I mean false-autonomous because it pretends to be self induced.
For example, it could be interesting to use a rejective scent to keep away people from certain area of the space or perhaps look for the opposite effect and bring them to a particular sector using a more pleasant perfume. At any point in time, make them locate themselves via their own olfactory perception. Another example would be to explore the sense of touch and introduction of heat or cold to surfaces or areas, considering the impact on the people who access the space where the action will take place and their own self perception immediately before that moment. So, we could conceivably create a temperature path that drives the audience in a subtle way to the sector we aim. Texture also could be a trigger for people, from the moment we give the public the opportunity to feel it, to influence their movement. Perhaps we could ask them to walk barefoot to the show to better feel the differences on roughness or dampness of pavements or ground beneath their feet.
Maybe it could be possible to change even the elasticity or plasticity of those surfaces. The exploration of contrast and harmony through these other senses is an interesting way to add another dimension to the show to allow the scenography to work better for the purpose of engaging the audience in multisensory perception.