As pondoscopy, also called Mauerschau, is called a technical stylistic means in the drama. Pondoscopy means the fact that a happening that can not be shown on the stage is nevertheless conveyed. The trick here is that the happening is moved behind a wall (obstacle) that the viewer does not overcome. Some figures can see and report it.
The term is derived from the Greek (τειχοσκοπία ~ teichoskopia) and is composed of τεῖχος for city wall and σκοπεῖν for watching together. According to this, the translation already refers to what is at stake: namely, observing [a situation from an elevated position which is not visible to the viewer] from a kind of wall. This masonry has mostly practical reasons.
Pondoscopy is always used when events are to be integrated which would not be reproducible on a stage at all. This can be, for example, a huge battle of large armies, furious natural catastrophes, or executions, as well as other atrocities that are often unacceptable to the viewer. Sometimes, however, it is also due to technical implementation.
This graphic illustrates the principle. On the wall stands a figure that can see what can not be represented and conveys what it sees to the audience. The viewer is therefore restricted to the field of view of the mediator, since he himself can not look over the wall. In the theater this is either realized by a real wall or by a comparable object that blocks the view.
Characteristics of masonry
Overview: Features and characteristics of pondoscopy
The term comes from the theater and describes the fact that one figure, more rarely even several, goes to an elevated position and reports of a happening behind a “wall”. The reason for this is usually that it is a happening that would otherwise not be present in the theater (battles, monsters, countries, etc.).
In contrast to the messenger report, which describes a previous event, the action on the stage and the one viewed by the wall can take place at the same time. Both concepts can be summarized as a form of concealed action.
Very often the pondoscopy is linked to another moment in drama. For example, the peripetia (inflection point), which may be connected with the anagnorisis (the recognition, the recognition of the actual position), is initiated by the seen. Furthermore, pondoscopy can directly affect the fate of the protagonist.
The actual effect on the action is by the way only possible by the reactions of the actors. How do they react to the report of the one who is on the wall? The covert action thus enables a simultaneous existence of action and reaction, since a reaction to the messenger report becomes visible or the happening takes place at the same time.
The Mauerschau is characterized by a monologue. This means that a single character speaks, whereby what is described affects the action. However, sometimes the dialogue is conceivable. This usually consists of demand and response.
Examples of pondoscopy
In many dramatic works this trick is used to present the unseen. In some works, such scenes are long, others point to the events in a concise manner.
For example, we would like to present three examples for pondoscopy. The following examples are from Goethe’s Faust, the Phoinics of Euripides, and from Homer’s Iliad. The latter work is also responsible for the stylistic means. Homer made it possible through this trick to make the Greek army visible through Helena, who is standing on the wall. All examples are excerpts.