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Fig. 28

seeing« bul it pieces a burden ol diffused orientation upon directors and performers and makes impossible the achievement of total uniform effect.

tt contains inherent difficulties in the entrance and exit of actors which are usually solved by pro viding entrances beneath the seating area.

Difficulties pertaining to the scenic investiture which are common to both this arrange' ment and the arena arrangement will be considered together,

Audmnce Surrounding Performance; Arena or Central Staging Variously called bandbox, arena, theater mlhu round. circle theater and deriving certainly from circus. ancient amphitheatre {double theater), and primitive ritual sites, the arrangement ol the acting area in the center of a surrounding ring of audience has gained in popularity in the twentieth century for a number of reasons:

Expediency. At a time when formal theaters have been decreasingly available and increasingly expensive to build, while simultaneously the number ol play production groups has been increasing rapidly, the arena arrangement, achievable in any large room, makes a rudimentary theater possible.

Economy As well as seating maximum audience in the minimum enclosure, this arrange ment seats the largest audience within the shortest distance from the acting area. It is therefore attractive to the showman and also to the spectator who attaches value to proximity to the stage (See Figs. 29 and 31 J

The claims of intimacy which are voiced for the open stag« arrangement are repeated for the central stage and the same demurrers apply with the additional statement of positions pro and contra the feature ol seeing the audience across the acting area- The argument pro is that seeing other members of the audience enjoying the show stimulates one's own enjoyment. The argument contra claims that the opposite audience seen beyond the actors is no part of the performance and is therefore a negative factor to the degree that it is distracting. Il is surely a negative factor in that it is not a part of the design end plan of Ihe performance; it is not scenic investiture-

Economy is also affected by the effective limitation of scenery: There can be no scenery or properties that the audience cannot see over, under« or through, This restricts scenic investiture to paint or other coverings on the stage floor, very low platforms, devices suspended above the acting area, outline representations of such objects as mutt be set on the

Fig. 31 Arena stage, Washington, D C, Architects: Harry Weese & Associates. Consultants: Boh, Seraneh & Newman. The arena stage (capacity 752) is an octagonal-shaped theaiai in-the round with a rectangular performing a tea. One of the I out tiers of seats is in movable to permit a three-quarter arena form. The stage ffoor is trapped to provide additional staging flexibility and to provide an orchestra pit when the three-quarter arrangement is used foi musicals. The height of the catwalk-lighting grid from the stage floor is atso adjustable. The building was designed for a resident, professional, repertory company.

Stage Space stage for use by the «ctors (doors, windows, and simitar architectural details), and low pieces of furniture.

Disadvantages. Because the audience is seated all around the acting area, it is unavoid' able that viewpoints will be maximally different and it becomes impossible for director end actors to compose the performance so as to produce a total uniform effect- Furthermore because the conditions of covering (one actor blocking audience vision of another actor) are also maximized, it is necessary to prevent covering by increasing the pitch of the seating area.

An unavoidable disadvantage of this form lies in the anterior-posterior aspect of every actor and the fact that the most dramatically expressive side is oriented in only one direction, The summary comment on this aspect was made by the late David Itkin: '"I have seen one-half of the show; now I will buy a ticket on the other side of the house and see the other half of the show " Unfortunately, because the performance must (at times) be oriented toward the sides where he has not yet sat with his two tickets, he would have had to buy two more tickets, four in all.

Performance Extending around Audience: Extended Stage v ariously called side stages, mufti-proscenium, theater-all-around, and even thea-trama, this arrangement has gained some acceptance in the mtdcentury decodes. (See Fig, 30 )

This form begins as an extension of the conventional acting area to left and right, usually as parodoi entrances on the audience side of the proscenium, or as doors in the side wall splays which may be used when desired as frontal entrances onto the stage. Its fullest development is in the four-stage lorm which requires that the audience sit in swivel chairs. Its uses in production are various: t. Small scenes played on side stages while scenery is being changed on the main stage.

2. Processions entering from the side stages and moving into the main stage.

3. Expansion of acting area for simultaneous showing of several settings or locales

4 Elimination of changes of scenery by having all scenery set up on the various stages and moving the action and even rotating the audience. {This form relates directly to the television studio method of having several settings set up and moving actors and cameras from one set to another.)

Fig. 31 Arena stage, Washington, D C, Architects: Harry Weese & Associates. Consultants: Boh, Seraneh & Newman. The arena stage (capacity 752) is an octagonal-shaped theaiai in-the round with a rectangular performing a tea. One of the I out tiers of seats is in movable to permit a three-quarter arena form. The stage ffoor is trapped to provide additional staging flexibility and to provide an orchestra pit when the three-quarter arrangement is used foi musicals. The height of the catwalk-lighting grid from the stage floor is atso adjustable. The building was designed for a resident, professional, repertory company.

The community theater usually contain« 500 to t,000 seats and serves amateurs, semiprofessionals, and visiting professional groups. Most of the scenery and costumes ere designed and made at the theater and require a special type of workshop, Because of its varied use, and the rather indeterminate responsibility of its management, its planning should be as simple and as foolproof as possible. This study will not include experimental theaters, since these present special problems.

A properly selected site olfers (1) Accessibility by normal means of transportation. (A central location is essential for walking only Automobiles should not have to traverse congested traffic zones when this can be avoided ) (2) Sufficient separation from bus and streetcar lines, principal highways, and other sources of noise. (3) Parking space. <4} Convenience to complementary community activities, educational or recreational, in order to reduce interbuitding traffic and minimize supervision and maintenance-

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