Just a brief inquiry into David Ball’s Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays, which many have recommended to me as a vital theatrical text without which my auto-didactic explorations would be incomplete.
It strikes me as the theatrical equivalent of Newtonian physics: a close enough approximation of the truth, but only under common circumstances. At extreme scales, you have to start looking at quantum mechanics, and that’s where things really get demanding and difficult… but also more accurate as well.
So is that where Peter Brook, for example, kicks in?
This is not to say that Ball has nothing to offer, mind you. Far from it. Newtonian physics is good enough for everyday calculations (the path of a billiard ball) and for some extreme calculations (the path of the space shuttle), and I think a parallel statement might be made about Ball’s arguments, too.
So where does Ball fail to meet our needs in thinking about plays?