INTENDED tl»HT I
INTENDED tl»HT I
(ion rmlticf whvn the performance! are so ata gad as to assure maximum effectiveness.
Where budget permits building to have better than minimum visibility standards, wall angles may be narrowed, floor angles increased, and balcony omitted, and visibility from the worst seats thereby improved to a point considerably betler than what is just salable. A very real problem, however, is to prevent precedent or personal prejudice from so influencing audi* torium design as to cause the inclusion of large numbers of unsalabln seals. One manager insisted, after floor slope and stage height had been determined and the auditorium floor laid, that the stage floor be lowered some 10 in. below the height called for in the plan, in the interests of, as he put itf "intimacy/' From the middle of the orchestra in that theater it is hard to see below the level of the actor's navel. (See Fig. 23.)
Greek theaters were semicircular (horizontal sight-line angle 90 to center line). This was all right in Greece where there was no proscenium. It is obviously not all right where a proscenium is used. Yet, a misguided reverence for ancient practice still gives us some theaters with impossible sight lines.
fig. 23 Zone of invitibilitY Causes: stage too high, front seats too low,
Opera houses of the Renaissance had side boxes for the very good reason that the people in the boxes competed (often successfully) with the stage show for audience attention. This condition persists, but it is worth noting that the best example of such a theater in America has not made a nickel for a generation. Nevertheless, theaters with at least vestigial side boxes are still built,
It is perhaps unnecessary to add that theaters planned in conformity with the principles here set forth may adhere in spirit to almost any architectural style by Ihe discreet planning of service and decorative elements which do not affect the basic shape of the theater. In theaters which are being rebuilt, it is often possible to retain the desirable features and still provide a good theater,
The open stage form in whrch sight lines must be directed to the edge of the acting area necessitates steep balconies. The balcony of a theater which is convertible from proscenium to open stage form must follow the requirements for open stage. Any theater in which performance extends beyond the proscenium onto either foresiage, open stage, or extended stage requires very careful planning to provide good seeing from all balcony seats to all parts of the acting area.
Few, if any. arena-form theaters have balconies, nor are they likely to have since the all-around seating of the arena form seems to satisfy seating capacity demands without balconies- Moreover, to satisfy the requirements of good seeing in arena, it is necessary to elevate successive rows of seats more than in proscenium form as a partial solution of the insoluble problem of actors covering other actors from some spectator's direction. iSee Fig, 24.)
If seat rows are successively and sufficiently elevated, the audience may see over the heads
Fig. 24 The tight line problem inherent in the arena form: A hides B ami C from first two rows m
Fig. 24 The tight line problem inherent in the arena form: A hides B ami C from first two rows of near actors to the heads, and partially the bodies, of actors farther away.
The stage is easily defined: it is that part of the thealer where the performance takes place.
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