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Encyclopedia > Stage (theatre)
Interior of the 1928 B. F. Keith Memorial Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts. This theatre features a proscenium stage, the most common type of stage in the West.
Interior of the 1928 B. F. Keith Memorial Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts. This theatre features a proscenium stage, the most common type of stage in the West.

In theatre, the stage (sometimes referred to as the deck in stagecraft) is a designated space for the performance of theatrical productions or other events. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience. As an architectural feature, the stage may consist of a platform (often raised) or series of platforms. In some cases,a.s.s.h.o.l.e these may be temporary or adjustable but in theaters and other buildings devoted to such productions, the stage is often a permanent feature. Image File history File links BF_Keith_Memorial_Theatre,_Boston_interior. ... Image File history File links BF_Keith_Memorial_Theatre,_Boston_interior. ... Benjamin Franklin Keith (1846-1914) in 1902 Keith Memorial Theatre, Boston Benjamin Franklin Keith (January 26, 1846 – March 26, 1914) was an American vaudeville theatre owner. ... Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ... Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... Stagecraft (or Technical Theatre) is the art of building, attaching, and rigging scenery for theater and television as well as other technical aspects of performance including sound, costuming, makeup, and lighting. ... Buskers perform in San Francisco A performance, in performing arts, generally comprises an event in which one group of people (the performer or performers) behave in a particular way for another group of people (the audience). ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ... An audience is a group of people who participate in an experience or encounter a work of art, literature, theatre, music or academics in any medium. ... The interior of the Comédie-Française, Paris, showing the stage, boxes, galleries and orchestra sections of the house. ...


There are four types of stages that vary as to the usage and the relation of the audience to them. The most common form found in the West is the proscenium stage. In this type, the audience is located on one side of the stage with the remaining sides hidden and used by the performers and technicians. Thrust stages may be similar to proscenium stages but with a platform or performance area that extends into the audience space so that the audience is located on three sides. In theatre in the round, the audience is located on all four sides of the stage. The fourth type of stage incorporates created and found stages which may be constructed specifically for a performance or may involve a space that is adapted as a stage. The interior of the Auditorium Building in Chicago built in 1887. ... A production of Godspell performed on a 3/4 thust stage In theater, a thrust stage (also known as a platform stage or open stage [1]) is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the backstage area by its up stage end. ... Theatre-in-the-round or arena theatre is any theatre space in which the audience surrounds the stage area. ...

Contents

Types of stage

Proscenium stage

Since the Italian Renaissance, the most common stage used in the West has been the proscenium stage which may also be referred to as a picture frame stage. The primary feature is a large arch, the proscenium arch, through which the audience views the performance. The audience directly faces the stage--which is typically raised several feet above front row audience level--and views only one side of the scene. This one side is commonly known as the invisible fourth wall of the scene. The proscenium arch evolved from the proskenium in Ancient Greek theatres. This was the space in front of the skene or backdrop where the actors actually played. The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 14th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe. ... The interior of the Auditorium Building in Chicago built in 1887. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The first indoor theatres were created in French tennis courts and Italian Renaissance palaces where the newly-embraced principles of perspective allowed deisgners to create stunning vistas with buildings and trees decreasing in size toward a "vanishing point" on the horizon. Stage floors were raked upward slightly from front to back, in order to contribute to the perspective illusion, and also to make groups of actors more visible to audiences who were at first seated on a flat floor. Subsequently, audience seating was raked, and balconies were added to give audiences a fuller view. By the end of the 19th century most stages had level floors, and much of the audience looked down on, rather than up to, the stage.


The competition among royals competing to produce elegant and elaborate entertainments fueled and financed the expansion of European court theatres. The proscenimum - often extremely decorative in the manner of a triumphal arch, "framed" the prospective picture. The desire of court painters to show more than one of their perspective backgrounds led court architects to adapt the pin-rails and pulleys of sailing ships to the unrolling, or later to the lowering and raising, of canvas backdrops. A wood (and later steel) grid above the stage supported pullies from which wooden battens, and later steel pipes, rolled down, or descended, with attached scenery pieces. The weight of heavy pieces was counterbalanced by sandbags. This system required the creation of a storage stage house or loft usually as high or higher than the proscenimum itself. Theatres using these rope systems operated manually by stage hands are known as hemp houses. They have been largely supplanted by systems using cables and motors.


The proscenium hides the sides of the stage, called the wings, which may be used by theatre personnel working on the particular performance as well as a space for storage of scenery and theatrical properties, typically obscured by side curtains, or framed scenery pieces, called legs. Several rows of short curtains across the top of the stage, called teasers, hide the backdrops which are hidden above in the stage loft until ready for use. Theatrical properties, or props, are items used in stage plays and similar entertainments to further the action. ...


Often, a stage may extend in front of the proscenium arch which offers additional playing area to the actors. This area is a referred to as the apron. Underneath and in front of the apron is sometimes an orchestra pit which is used by musicians during musicals and operas. The orchestra pit may sometimes be covered and used as an additional playing space in order to bring the actors closer to the audience. The stage is often raised higher than the audience. Space above some proscenium stages may include a flyloft where curtains, scenery, and battens supporting a variety of lighting instruments may hang. An apron is an outer protective garment that covers primarily the front of the body. ... An orchestra pit is the usually lowered area (hence pit) in front of a stage where an orchestra accompanies the performers. ... The Fantasticks is the longest-running musical in history Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. ... For religious use, see Veil. ...


The numerous advantages of the proscenium stage have led to its popularity in the West. Many theatrical properties and scenery may be utilized. Backdrops, curtains and lighting can be used to greater effect without risk of rigging being visible to the audience. Entrances and exits can be made more graceful; surprise becomes possible. The actors only have to concentrate on playing to the audience in one direction.


Theatre in the round

This method of stage design consists of a stage situated in the centre of the theatre, with the audience facing it from all sides. The audience is placed quite close to the action which provokes a feeling of intimacy and involvement.


In-the-round stages require special considerations in production, including:

  • Scenery that does not obscure actors and the rest of the stage from parts of the audience.
  • Backdrops and curtains cannot be used, thus the director must find other ways to set the scene.
  • Lighting design is more difficult than for a Proscenium stage, since the actor must be lit from all sides without blinding nearby audience members.
  • Entrances and exits must be made either through the audience, making surprise entrances very difficult, or via closed-off walkways, which must be inconspicuous. As a result, stage entrances are normally in the corners of the theatre.
  • The actors need to ensure that they do not have their backs turned to any part of the audience for long periods of time, in order to be seen and heard clearly.

The role of the theatre lighting designer (or LD) within theatre is to work with the theatre director, set designer, and costume designer to create an overall look for the show in response to the text, but bearing in mind issues of visibility, safety and cost. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ...

Thrust stage

See main article - Thrust stage A production of Godspell performed on a 3/4 thust stage In theater, a thrust stage (also known as a platform stage or open stage [1]) is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the backstage area by its up stage end. ...

outdoor stage in Edmonton
outdoor stage in Edmonton

A thrust stage is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the backstage area by its up stage end. A thrust has the advantage of greater intimacy between audience and performer than a proscenium, while retaining the utility of a backstage area. Entrances onto a thrust are most readily made from backstage, although some theatres provide for performers to enter through the audience using vomitory entrances. An arena, exposed on all sides to the audience, is without a backstage and relies entirely on entrances in the house or from under the stage. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixels Full resolution (3072 × 2304 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixels Full resolution (3072 × 2304 pixel, file size: 2. ... For other usages see Theatre (disambiguation) Theater (American English) or Theatre (British English and widespread usage among theatre professionals in the US) is that branch of the performing arts concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle &#8212... The interior of the Auditorium Building in Chicago built in 1887. ... The eating and drinking habits of the Romans changed over the long (over 1000 years) duration of their ancient civilization. ... Theatre-in-the-round or arena theatre is any theatre space in which the audience surrounds the stage area. ... For other usages see Theatre (disambiguation) Theater (American English) or Theatre (British English and widespread usage among theatre professionals in the US) is that branch of the performing arts concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle &#8212...


As with an arena, the audience in a thrust stage theatre may view the stage from three or more sides. If a performance employs the fourth wall, that imaginary wall must be maintained on multiple sides. Because the audience can view the performance from a variety of perspectives, it is usual for the blocking, props and scenery to receive thorough consideration to ensure that no perspective is blocked from view. A high backed chair, for instance, when placed stage-right, could create a blind spot in the stage left action. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Insert non-formatted text hereBlocking is a theatre term which refers to the precise movement and positioning == of == a little fish. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Created and found spaces

A stage can also be improvised where ever a suitable space can be found. Examples may include staging a performance in a non traditional space such as a basement of a building, a side of a hill or, in the case of a busking troupe, the street. In a similar manner, a makeshift stage can be created by modifying an environment. For example demarcating the boundaries of a stage in an open space by laying a carpet and arranging seating before it.


Additions & modifications

Proscenium and In-The-Round stage types are only the basic templates for stage layout. There are also extras which can be added in order to improve the stage.

  • Aprons are pieces of stage added to the front of a proscenium stage which protrude past the proscenium arch, pushing out into the audience in order to make them feel more involved. They provoke a feeling of being more part of the action, rather than just looking at it through a transparent fourth wall (see above.) See also thrust stage.
  • Boxes are a feature of more modern stage designs in which temporary walls are built inside any proscenium stage, at a slight angle to the original walls, in order to allow audience members located to the left or right of the proscenium (the further out, the larger the angle) to see the entirety of the stage. They enable the creation of rat runs around the back of the stage, which allow cast members to walk between entrances and exits without being seen by the audience.

An apron is an outer protective garment that covers primarily the front of the body. ... A production of Godspell performed on a 3/4 thust stage In theater, a thrust stage (also known as a platform stage or open stage [1]) is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the backstage area by its up stage end. ...

Stage directions

House right/left are from the audience's perspective
House right/left are from the audience's perspective

The stage itself has been given named areas to facilitate the precise movement and positioning of actors on a stage (see Blocking (stage)). Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Insert non-formatted text hereBlocking is a theatre term which refers to the precise movement and positioning == of == a little fish. ...


Absolute terms

The terms 'up stage' and 'down stage' are relics from the inclined or "raked" stage of the Greek Theater. The part of the stage farthest from the audience is "up stage", and the part closest to the audience is "down stage". If an actor moves upstage, other actors who turn to look at him will be "upstaged": their backs will be toward the audience.[1]


Relative terms

To prevent confusion, actors and directors never use the unmarked terms left or right for the sides of the stage. Rather, they use a phrase specifying their viewpoint or perspective.


From the perspective of a member of the audience (i.e. the house) facing the stage, "house left" is to your left and "house right" is right. Actors on stage, facing the audience, are looking in the opposite direction; for them, "stage right" is to their right and "stage left" is left. Perspective when used in the context of vision and visual perception refers to the way in which objects appear to the eye based on their spatial attributes or dimension and the position of the eye relative to the objects. ... In grammar, a preposition is a word that establishes a relationship between an object (usually a noun phrase) and some other part of the sentence, often expressing a location in place or time. ... Membership can refer to: Set membership - comprising part of a set in mathematics Social group membership - in sociology, the process of socialisation aims/results in achieving membership of a social group This is a disambiguation page — a list of articles associated with the same title. ... An audience is a group of people who participate in an experience or encounter a work of art, literature, theatre, music or academics in any medium. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ... This article describes the Aphex Twin single. ... In psychology, visual perception is the ability to interpret visible light information reaching the eyes which is then made available for planning and action. ... ... The term direction can be applied to various topics. ... Them is the English language third person plural pronoun used after a preposition or as the object of a verb. ...


In other words, stage right is the actor's right as the actor stands on the stage facing the audience. Stage left is the actor's left as the actor stands on the stage facing the audience. Even if the actor is facing up stage (with his back to the audience), stage right and stage left are still determined as if the actor were standing on the stage facing the audience. That way, "house left" and "stage right" always refer to the same unchanging direction.


History of the Stage

In the earliest history of theatre, stages often were simply designated performance areas within a village. As theatre is often derived from religious rites, these areas held special significance and meaning within the tribe. The first elaborate theatrical stages are found in Ancient Greece where stages were originally threshing floors which developed into large, open-air ampitheaters with permanent stages. These same theatre layouts were adopted by the Romans who spread them across Europe. Small portable stages called wagons were common in the Middle Ages and were used for mystery plays and miracle plays in cathedrals as well as outside in villages. Similar stages were used by Commedia dell'arte troupes in Italy which spread over the continent over the next few centuries. The Temple of Athena, the Parthenon Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around nine hundred years. ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Mystery plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. ... Mystery plays or miracle plays are one of the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. ... For other uses, see Cathedral (disambiguation). ... Karel Dujardins set his closely-observed scene of a traveling troupes makeshift stage against idealized ruins in the Roman Campagna: dated 1657 (Louvre Museum) Commedia dellarte (Italian: play of professional artists also interpreted as comedy of humors), also known as Extemporal Comedy, was a popular form of improvisational...


See also

A minstrels gallery (sometimes minstrels gallery; plural minstrels galleries) is a form of balcony, often inside the great hall of a castle or manor house, and used to allow musicians (originally minstrels) to perform, discretely hidden from the guests below. ...

References

  • Gillette, J. Michael. Theatrical Design and Production, 3rd Ed. Mountain View, California: Mayfield, 1997. ISBN 1-55934-701-5.
  • Wilson, Edwin. The Theater Experience, 7th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998. ISBN 0-07-913202-2.

Citations

  1. ^ Free Dictionary - Upstaged

External links

  • Scenography - The Theatre Design Website Diagram and images of various stage types

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