DISCOVERING CROSS-LIKE FORMS IN THE SPATIAL STRUCTURE
OF FAIRY TALES

The Dramaturgy of Space in the Artistic Fairy Tale
(2007)

This scientific study is dedicated to some very similar and interrelated, but exceptionally beautiful and most original artistic fairy tales, that had been created in greater part during the epoch of bourgeois society (The Blue Bird – Maurrice Maeterlinck, The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wizard of Oz – Lyman Frank Baum, Snow-white the Queen – Eugene Schwartz, Peter Pan – James Matthew Barrie, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll) and whose embodiment has also been realized through stage dramatizations, but in this work they are primarily considered from an angle exploring the dramaturgy of space.

Thus, a methodology is established for the discovery and exploration of profound sub-textual structures in these fairy tales, which have led to a separate sub-genre in which there appears linearity in the intertwining of real and fantastical space.

Since space represents an existential constant one cannot envisage a dramaturgical analysis of any given part without considering space as a factor.  In addition, since time and space intertwine, spatial analysis always presupposes a temporal approach as well.  Thus, time and space also appear as key determinants of stage dramatized fairy tales.

The unity of spatial structure also induces a similarity in the sphere of ideas, confirming the fact that spatial structure is inseparably linked to that of the mental structure.

Aldous Huxley’s observances (in his essays in The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell) that intensified light, bright colors and a deeper meaning are all characteristic of the descriptions of paradise-like worlds contained in the Holy Books, as well as fairy worlds as described in the folklore traditions of various peoples, have inspired this research, precisely because these are the main characteristics of the world of fantasy presented in the fairy tales under investigation in this study.

Either consciously or through literary intuition the authors of these fairy tales, owing to the sheer magnitude of their talents, have attained heavenly visions of the world, creating an exceptional oasis of the mind and spirit, that have as their purpose to reveal to us not some abstract beauty, but indeed a more profound meaning as well as the hidden beauty of our seemingly ordinary, everyday life.

In order to gain better insight into the specificities or distinctive qualities of the theatrical or staged fairy tale, the first or the introductory part of this work for the most part speaks of fairy tales, folk tales as well as artistic ones, of their underlying features and relationship to myths and other literature, especially to the literature of fantasy.  Furthermore, all of this is brought into connection with staged theatrical fairy tales and their dramaturgical characteristics, with special reference to the treatment of spatial similarities and differences.

In order to better understand the dramaturgy of theatric space, as an introduction to the same, we analyze the phenomenon of space itself (the sense of space), the relationship between theater and space.

The second part of the work consists of the analysis of the spatial-temporal structure of the aforementioned fairy tales, drawing comparisons between each of them, as well as making additional comparisons with other fairy tales, primarily with folk tales, as well as with works belonging to fantasy literature.

What separates these fairy tales as a separate whole is their tripartite spatial structure:

1) The world, taken conditionally, real space and real time, out of which it moves;

2) The miraculous (fantasy) world, which is dominant in the work;

3) And finally, a return to reality, which has been transformed by the miraculous, enriched and deepened greatly.

We can  express this tripartite spatial structure schematically as A – B – A1(AB).  As can be seen the first and the last parts are not the same.  The reality from the beginning of the fairy tale – A, owing to the miraculous – B, undergoes a significant transformation, due to which, it is designated at the end of the fairy tale as A1 or AB.

The spatial dimension of these works may be presented also by two coordinates, real space – the horizontal, and the miraculous – the vertical.  Just as the lines of the coordinate system cross each other creating a whole, thus the two spaces that are intertwined and that permeate each other form a unified whole, and what is especially interesting is that this whole is in the most part extraordinarily harmonic.  Fantasy is present as a deeper and more complex image of reality.  It is precisely because of this spatial intertwining and accord, that we may define this spatial-temporal structure as being also harmonic or spherical, and if we take the symbol of the cross in its widest possible sense as a symbol representing harmony, then we may also define it as something being “cross-shaped” or, indeed, cross-like in form.