"The floor of the stage consisted of smooth boards"
Viktor Shklovsky
Public DomainViktor Shklovsky

 This scene is an example of the literary technique of defamiliarisation for which Tolstoy is especially well known. He takes an activity which is familiar to most readers and describes it so as to make it seem strange, forcing the reader to look differently at something they have previously taken for granted.

The term defamiliarisation (ostranenie in Russian) was coined by the Russian literary theorist Viktor Shklovsky in his 1917 essay 'Art as Technique'. He wrote that it applies to all artistic forms. Read his essay online here, where he discusses Tolstoy's use of this effect in detail: "it is typical of Tolstoy's way of pricking the conscience."