The essay is a critical or close examination of the two main kind of architecture in theaters. The paper establishes a comparison between proscenium theatres and thrust theatres; these are among eight theater stages. To accomplish this successfully, both advantages and disadvantages of these two types of stages are brought forth.
It is worth noting that the issue of performance has evolved over time since the time of William Shakespeare. Over these several years, stages have been modified to suit various scenarios. Just like any other thing, change is inevitable and it has applied in the field of art performance. It is worth noting that the stiff competition to come up with elegant and an elaborate kind of entertainment did catalyze the expansion and innovation in theaters (Gillette 11). Proscenium theatres are those kind of stages that have a space that are characterized by a big archway usually at or close to the front of the stage by which the audiences get the opportunity to view the play.
Those who are attending the play usually are in a position that they face the stage directly. Where actors and actress use as an acting platform is a bit raised some feet above audience front seats. Main stage is situated directly behind proscenium arch which do have curtains that can be raised or lowered when appropriate.
It is worth noting that there are other terms used to refer to this kind of theater; these are picture-frame and fourth wall. It was introduced in Italy back during the period of renaissance. This type of stage constitutes the largest percentage of all theaters, 90%. A well known example of this stage is Downey, Music Center. Audiences view the play from only one direction (Magagnato 215). Thrust theatre also known as three quarter round and originate from Greek and Elizabethan ancient. This kind of stage usually extends into the audience probably on three sides and connects to the backstage by an upstage end. “In this type of stage, audiences view the play or the action from three different directions” (Gillette 65).
One example of a thrust theater is Mark Taper Forum. In this case, those in attendance have the opportunity of viewing the play from different and unique angles and perspectives. Historically, it is the most widely used in the field of stage acting.
At present, most of the arrangement entails a square or rectangular stage and in most cases raised while seats are raked in three distinct parts around the stage.
As noted previously this kind of stage was introduced in Italy back in the Renaissance period meaning that it is one of the oldest types of theater in history. It is important to mention that over the years, it gained popularity that it quickly grew in number. This kind of popularity is that to its advantages which mainly include the following; provides for a spectacular view, heightens aesthetic distance, focuses audience’s attention in a more accurate manner, the stage is not that open, it also creates a sense of grandeur stage, has curtains. One major advantage of proscenium theatre is that it gives audiences a more realistic kind of setting, seeing the action from one direction or a frame usually grabs the attention of those in attendance (Gillette 69). This coupled with a raked kind of seating arrangement makes it possible for all audiences to clearly see what is transpiring in the stage. The presence of curtains helps in concealing the stage in instances where there is a need to carry out some changes as well as intermission. Additionally, the presence of curtain makes it possible to reveal the stage only when it is necessary bringing with it an act of attracting attention.
It is worth noting that despite the passage of time, it still constitute close to 90% of current stages in the world and is used from schools to other places (Freund 162). There is a lot of accuracy due to the arrangement of the theatre. The font direct view coupled with heighten view give audiences a spectacular view in which all actions will be tapped by those in attendance the angle they use to see the action is more clear. On the same note, the advantage of the stage not being open is that it allows the audience to hide props, orchestra in the stage or wing without necessarily being seen by the audiences (Gillette 51). It is also worth noting that the larger arch through which those in attendance view that act coupled with the advantage of viewing the stage directly and from one side bring with it a myriad of advantages more notably enhanced attraction of attention and enhanced spectacular view pint.
On the other hand, it is always a fact that however an aspect can portray positive attributes; there are chances of bad aspects that can be realized. In this case, proscenium stage lacks the ability to create a romantic or intimate association with the audiences. Due to this, it is evident that it instigated the development of other kind of stages especially those that create an environments that those in attendance can get the opportunity to view the action from more than one direction. Despite the fact that it is argued that the stage being a bit raised from the front audience eat is of advantage, those individuals who seat at front level get a rough time while concentrating. This is because they have to look upward for them to be in a position to properly see the actors.
This has been found to have profound effects on their neck as well as the perspective hindering their rate of concentration. Additionally, having in mind that those in attendances see the stage directly from one direction; those who occupy back seat are indeed far away and cannot clearly see or even hear the play making them even miss some important actions (Magagnato 215). On the same note it has been argued that actors have found this kind of stage to be limiting as they have no enough space to move around. Similarly, there is limited scenery as well as props.
According to Freund 12 it is worth noting from the onset that this kind of stage came into light in the wake of 1600 and gained popularity in 1700. It was an improvement to provide audiences with what Proscenium Theater was not offering. One major advantage of thrust theatre is that the various three angles that one can see the action. This coupled. This coupled with the fact that the stage is lowered brings with it the advantage of a spectacular view as it brings the action creating the ability to attain intimacy with audience. On the same note, the arrangement from the three distinct directions of the raked seats ensures that the space is enough for the actors and actress to move around. Additionally, the audiences are provided with enough space to seat and be close to the stage hence are able to get every bit of the action (Magagnato 213) Another significant benefit of thrust stage is that there is a lot of intimacy “created as compared to proscenium stage because actors and actress are closer in proximity with the audience”, (Gillette 71) thanks to the three raked seating arrangement.
It is worth noting that storage scenery as well as the mechanisms to hide scenic equipment is tremendously reduced. Concerning disadvantages, of Thrust Theater is of worth to note that they are very few and the most notable one is that the seating arrangement does not allow as many people to clearly see the play as seat are not completely around the stage. However this is not a serious issue considering the pros it carries (Freund 16).
From the review of the two kinds of theaters; Proscenium and Thrust, it is evident that they both have distinct and long history. On the same note, they are a times referred by other names; picture frame and three quarter round respectively. They both have advantages and disadvantages.
Among the advantages of proscenium theatre are; it provides for a spectacular view, heightens aesthetic distance, focuses audience’s attention in a more accurate manner, the stage is not that open, it also creates a sense of grandeur stage, has curtains. A major disadvantage is that intimacy cannot be realized and that the direct view can be challenge for those who seat t back usually far from the stage and can miss hearing or clearly seeing some actions. On the other hand, Thrust theatre has more advantages over proscenium.
The pros include; a wider area for audience as well as the actors and actress, there is capability of creating intimacy to audience, audience can see the action from three different perspectives or sides, arrangement of the raked seat make it possible for every individual in attendance to clearly see the actions. The major disadvantage of this kind of stage is there are instances of some individuals not seeing what is happening ion the stage due to the arrangement of the seats.
The Birth of Theatre, London: Peter Owen, 2003. Print This book gives a very clear history in development of theatre from its conception to what it is now. Various kinds of stages are brought forth. Coupled with examples, the author made it very easy for anyone to comprehend and clearly distinguish between the varied types of stages.
Gillette, Michael. Theatrical Design and Production: An Introduction to Scene Design and Construction, Lighting, Sound, Costume, and Makeup. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999. Print. The book was selected as the author has captured in a very broad manner a myriad of factors pertaining to theater as a field. The issue dealing with designing, constructing a theater has been tackled in a manner that suited my study as it addressed the advantages and disadvantages of all the known types of stages.
Magagnato, Licisco. “The Genesis of the Teatro Olimpico. Journal of the Warburg and Courtald Institutes, 15.1(1951), 213-215.
The journal was chosen because it adequately addressed all the aspects of proscenium theatre. It brought the history of the stage in a very simple language stating that it dates back in 1600 and gained popularity in 1700s. the advantages as well as disadvantages of proscenium type of stage clearly came out from the author.