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NOTES 8/30/2006

5 spaces in contemporary theatre


Prosceium Black box
Thrust
Theatre in the round
Environmental space (in a real restaurant, some thugs came in and tired to escape the law,
and took them hostage some people were hostages)
PROSCENIUM
Most popular theatre, most controllable, black box
Picture frame opening
The line that divides the stage from the orchestra pit is called the apron line.
Plain in 1 DISCOVER
No smaller than 32 feet. Otherwise not useful.
55 feet becomes too large. Actor seems small
Opera is another story.
MSUM Hansen Theatre 42 feet opening. Flexible to 36 or even 17 feet
Wingspace is very important
Box Set = Walls. (An interior of a room)
Stage right 17 feet
Stage left 20 feet 9, plus shop
Sight Lines What the audience can see.
Masking Hard or soft borders and legs
Border The curtain that goes above the stage
Legs Curtains on the sides.
Soft Masking Fabric with a chain in it to keep it taught
Minimally 2 traveler curtains made of velour --- 16-25 ounce velour. Back it with duct or
its too thin.
A fly system is needed.
Cyc drop made out of white leno (a fabric), sort of rough in texture. Makes a good
projection screen. A full cyc is one that goes around. Can be made to look like a real sky.
One piece of fabric. EXPENSIVE.
Dont have any permanent fixtures (stage manager booth, storage) that can get in the way.

Plaster Line is an imaginary line


Offstage right and left are called wings
ADVANTAGES TO THIS TYPE
Can control what audience sees
Makes blocking more controllable
Makes power positions
Stage center is the strongest position. Levels add power.
Stage left = bad position
Lighting More flexible
More ability for trickery and color mixes
Make more noise because audience cant hear it. It also creates 3 dimensions.
Can make things look bigger and smaller than they really are.
Most plays are written for a proscenium theatre.
NYC is where most plays come from. Almost all NYC stages are proscenium
DISADVANTAGES
Costly
Lose intimacy
Acoustics are bad because of the proscenium. You are engulfed in velour. The fly space
also sucks sound.
THRUST STAGES
The Guthrie in the 60s
Tyrone Guthrie got fed up with NYC theatre and wanted to get back to language. He
wanted to design a space for the actor to give a lot of intimacy. The Thrust stage is a
takeoff of the Globe Theatre. Designed to hear, not see.
Proscenium ideas dont work here.
Seen as a voyeuristic experience. Get some intimacy.
Became trendy.
Laurence Olivier hated thrust stages and dint care for Proscenium. He took out the back
ends, and extended the auditorium. Learned from Guthries mistakes.

A trap system is something you can lower things onto the floor. (Hamlet at Guthrie, Lion
King)
Scenery costs less in the way you dont have much. However you need to put in more
detail.
Get more intimacy and has a more naturalistic acting style.
Audience can now perceive depth. This very hard, because you can see the floor.
Breaks down illusion, not so good for nontrickery
Acoustics improve because of closeness to the audience.
DISADVANTAGES
Cant trick people with the lighting. Things become more complex. Its not about stage left
and right. Its all about center stage.
Also noiseier to move sets. No fly system
Difficult to hide shifting tricks.
Most shows have to be readapted. Especially comedies. No Place for an orchestra.

THEATRE IN THE ROUND


Eliminates the need for scenery. Floor and scenic props.
Even with singers for one man shows, they have a back.
Best for wrestling matches and Boxing.

TERMS
Boom A wing on the auditorium on the wall where lights can be hung.
Catwalk Metal walkways above the stage and auditorium to hang scenery, lights, etc
Clouds The lights above the auditorium OR sound bounce-backer. A ceiling of steel.
(The Fritz)
Loading Dock Where trucks load things in or out.

Pulleys Things used to change the vertical path of things.


Intercom system. Duh.
Locking rail. Where you see all the ropes and pulleys for the theatre. At MSUM, Stage
right.
Flame Curtian A sheet of asbestos, comes down to protect audience and held in place
by pieces of steel.
Fly system. Fully motorized fly systems exist. MSUM has an old one. The ropes are
made of a polyester plastic, formerly a hemp rope. Polyester plastic doesnt stretch as
much.
T-Bar Track
Arbor A Counterweight system (Kinda like a balance.)
Big Pulley is called a headblock pulley. On the grid there are several pulleys (Loftblock
pulleys [like a hayloft]) The loftblocks all connect to the Headblock pulleys.
Attached to a bar of metal. A piece of steel goes the whole length of the stage called a
batton, where you hang set pieces from.
Bottom of the arbor is connected to the floor and a tension pulley. Connect to a tension
block and back to the arbor. The rope isnt holding any weight. Its the arbor that holds it.
Rope breaks, nothing happens, but you cant move the arbor. See Diagram.