PSi Lexicon



Silence is a term for something that does not really exist, but can still be very powerful. Silence would be the hearing of nothing, but this is not possible. There will always be sounds surrounding us (and in theatre for sure) although nobody says anything. There will always be someone coughing, a clock ticking, or a sound from a source outside the room you are in. Even if there seems to be an absolute silence with nobody around, there will always be the beating of our hearts. There is a big connection between silence and sound and noise. A real silence does not exist, but you can arrange the sounds around you in such a way that silence seems to exist. If you search for silence, you are able to find it for yourself because the sounds which are not important will not come through to you. In that moment, silence seems to exist. There can be silence if you want silence.


As for theatre, silence can work in many ways. It can be a moment for the audience to let the performance have its effect on them and for them to think about this. Or, it can be a moment where the audience can think about their own behaviour in relation to what happens in the performance. Also, many of the audiences emotions and feelings  can be provoked by a silence, like relief, awkwardness or tension. Sometimes a silence can say more than words.. The line between what works with silences and what does not is very thin. When a silence is too long or too short for example, it can take away the effect it could have on the audience. This is also the case when a silence is badly timed.

Author and translator by: Leonie Zuidersma



stilte [stɪlte] (noun)


Stilte is een term voor iets dat eigenlijk niet bestaat en toch erg krachtig kan zijn. Stilte zal het horen van niets zijn, maar dit is niet mogelijk. Er zullen altijd (en zeker in het theater) geluiden om ons heen zijn, ook al zegt niemand iets. Er zal altijd iemand zijn die moet kuchen, een klok die tikt of een geluid van een bron buiten de ruimte waarin we ons bevinden. Als het dan toch lijkt dat er een absolute stilte heerst met niemand om ons heen, zal het geluid van het kloppen van het eigen hart toch nog aanwezig zijn. Stilte is dus altij