If we talk about a performance that does not reconstruct historical background but is supposed to appeal to our feelings omitting all formal evidences, can we use the expression on the level of perception? Like The city and village in the performance are read out on the level of perception (meaning that there are no houses, cars, trees and so on).

  • 1
    No - your construction is effectively "meaningless" in English (presumably it's some kind of literal translation of a usage which would be easily understood in your native tongue). You probably want something like superficially, but your use of are read out here doesn't sound at all "natural" either. Perhaps superficially sketched in. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:12
  • I mean some inner details that help us understand that it is a village, so I don't like the word “superficially”, while it is about outward characteristics. Can I say “are read out intuitively”?
    – BukvaCe
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:22
  • 1
    No!!! - You definitely can't use "intuitively" here! I think your preconceptions about "superficially" are misguided, but if you don't like that, maybe you should think about a different way of phrasing things. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:26

4 Answers 4


Perception is not correct here because it does nothing to exclude concrete, physical things at all. You can perceive houses and cars as much as you can perceive emotions, or perhaps even more. It sounds like you're looking for a way to describe something that conveys an impression without all the details.

She read out an impression of the city.

It described the city abstractly.

They captured the essence of the city

The play conveyed the city's character (or soul/spirit)

We expressed the zeitgeist of the town

He described the city on an emotional level

"Are read out" is somewhat unclear. I recommend writing, "He read out," "It described," or anything that specifies who or what is reading.


Your case seems pretty nuanced and I'm not sure exactly what you're going for here. You seem to be talking about an abstract description that evokes a visceral understanding. I don't know of any idiomatic way to express that but 'level of perception' is not something that would be commonly understood by English speakers.


I'm not entirely certain what "read out" means in the original sentence. My impression of the overall question, though, is that you want to say that a play (or something similar) was performed without a set, or with a very sparse set, yet the performance still evoked a sense of place. That is probably how I would say it, too: "Despite the sparse sets, the performance evoked a strong sense of place and time."


Since you seem to be trying to avoid a negative connotation, I can see why you wouldn't like superficially. Some synonyms could maybe work better with some slight restructuring of the sentence.

"In the performance, the city and village portray the times cosmetically" may get you what you need.

  • How does “cosmetically” express my idia if it's just opposite? I try to say that there is no visual evidences, that it's all about feelings.
    – BukvaCe
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 16:53
  • @BukvaCe I did not understand that's what you were going for. You could replace cosmetically with emotionally in my sentence to convey that.
    – PixPrefect
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 18:17

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