An example of the Proscenium theatre that most of us know about is the theatre in Edwards hall, and also the Westoff
Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts building.
That kind of theatre allows the audience to sit on a slant to the stage. The slanting of the seating area is called
The proscenium theatre offers many advantages to the performance. It gives off a realistic setting, the focus on
the frame grabs the attention of the audience.
For every good aspect of something there comes a bad. The proscenium stage creates an opportunity to get carried
away with lighting, and the stage intimacy is more of a remote and formal one. Audience members sometimes would prefer informality,
and grasp the intimacy that the thrust and arena stage offer.
|This is a picture of a Hawaiian proscenium stage (1922)
|This is an example of an English thrust stage
The thrust stage was developed by the Greeks for their tragedies and comedies. A thrust stage, like all the others I have
mentioned, also have it's advantages and disadvantages. Some of the basic and obvious advantages are the intimacy of the
semi-circle seating, the close audience relationship to the performance, and the fact that many famous plays and scripts were
made for the thrust stage. The disadvantages are rare. The only obvious one is that not as many people could watch the play
since the seating arrangement did not go all the way around the stage. That however was not a very big disadvantage.
I could see Country Wife being performed on a thrust stage. The audience could get a sense of the drama, and appreciate
the theatre better. In Country Wife, Act II scene I, Mrs. Pinchwife, and Alithea are in a room in Pinchwife's house. When
we are reading the script, we see that it says that Pinchwife is peeping behind at the door. It is hard for us to grasp that
action since we are not actually seeing it being performed. Sure we can imagine it, but actually seeing it does a lot more.
Pinch has no lines and is just there to make a point to the audience. The watching audience sees him, but the actresses
on stage do not. Directors place actors in strategic places to make the scenes more intimate.
|An example of a theatre in the round stage!
An arena stage gives off the most intimacy. In some cases, like a basketball game, you are right there, sitting in the first
row, and all the action is right there in your face.
The arena theatre offers the most intimacy of any of the theatres. The audience gets closer to the action because of
the seating on all four sides. If the same amount of people attend a performance at an arena staged theatre as would attend
at a proscenium staged theatre, at least half would be closer to the stage. There is no barrier from the stage to the audience
in an arena theatre.
Some disadvantages would include the scenery. Because of the seating being around the whole stage, scenery cannot really
be all the elaborate and amazing. Some of the audience members would be blocked out of the performance. This restricted actors
and directors choices for some of the movements on stage. However, the intimacy gained made up for that drawback.
Conquest of Granada could be performed on this kind of stage.