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Encyclopedia > Proscenium arch

A proscenium arch is a square frame around a raised stage area in traditional theatres. It creates a 'window' within which the play is performed. It represents a style of theatre which has persisted since the seventeenth century but has become an almost derogatory term to many modern dramatists. (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ...


Development

The term has a complex origin and originally meant something very different. It derives from the Greek proskenion, meaning 'in front of the skene'. The skene was a building with doors that served as the backdrop in Ancient Greek theatre. The proskenion was a raised stage in front of the skene which appeared in the Hellenistic era and in Roman theatre; it served simply to make the actors higher to aid visibility, and to separate them from the chorus. Ancient theatres thus lacked the modern proscenium arch. It was also absent from Renaissance theatres. ɾdrama are obscure. ... The term Hellenistic (derived from Héllēn, the Greeks traditional self-described ethnic name) was established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen to refer to the spreading of Greek culture over the non-Greek peoples that were conquered by Alexander the Great. ... Roman theatre at Orange, France A Roman theatre is a theatre building built by the Romans. ... In tragic plays of Ancient Greece, the chorus (choros) is believed to have grown out of the Greek dithyrambs and tragikon drama. ...


The proscenium arch developed in seventeenth century theatres, alongside the development of illusionistic scenery. Throughout much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, proscenium arch theatres were the norm. Only in the twentieth century, as theatre began to reject illusionistic scenery, did other forms of theatre design become popular (see below). (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the...


Function

The proscenium arch creates a 'window' around the scenery and actors. The advantages are that it gives everyone in the audience a good view because the actors need only focus on one direction rather than continually moving around the stage to give a good view from all sides. It also allows for more complex scenery as blocking the audience's view is much easier to avoid.


Proscenium arch theatres have fallen out of favour because they perpetuate the fourth wall concept within theatre, which implies that the characters performing on stage are doing so in a four-walled environment, with the "wall" facing the audience being invisible. Many modern theatres attempt to do away with the fourth wall concept and so most modern theatres are designed with a thrust stage that projects out of the arch and into the audience, or even with a circular stage entirely surrounded by the audience (known as theatre in the round). The fourth wall is the imaginary invisible wall at the front of the stage in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. ... In theater, a thrust stage is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the back stage area by its up stage end. ... Theatre In The Round , or arena theatre, is any theatre space in which the audience is seated on all sides of the stage. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Proscenium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (266 words)
A proscenium theatre is a theatre space whose primary feature is a large archway (the proscenium arch) at or near the front of the stage, through which the audience views the play.
The main stage is the space behind the proscenium arch, often marked by a curtain which can be lowered or drawn closed.
The space in front of the curtain is called the "apron." Proscenium stages range in size from small enclosures to several stories tall.
Proscenium arch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (377 words)
The proscenium arch developed in seventeenth century theatres, alongside the development of illusionistic scenery.
Throughout much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, proscenium arch theatres were the norm.
Proscenium arch theatres have fallen out of favour because they perpetuate the fourth wall concept within theatre, which implies that the characters performing on stage are doing so in a four-walled environment, with the "wall" facing the audience being invisible.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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