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+ The World of the Stage The ancient world, Shakespeare and Beyond + What is a Stage? + What can you come up with? Take a few minutes in groups and generate some definitions… + Definitions: A raised platform on which theatrical performances are presented? An area in which actors perform Any performance space that is enabled or manipulated for performers to engage with an audience Therefore any space that is set up or manipulated for performance can be a stage! + What types of stages are there? The Proscenium Stage: A stage where the audience sits on one side only. This is also called end-on staging. The audience faces one side of the stage directly, and normally sits at a lower height. + In-the-Round Stage An in-the-round stage is positioned at the centre of the audience – i:e there is audience around the whole stage. This type of stage creates quite an intimate atmosphere, and is good for drama that needs audience involvement. + The Traverse Stage A stage where the audience sits on two sides is called a traverse stage. Again, this type of stage is good for creating an intimate atmosphere. + Thrust Stage or Open Stage Thrust staging gives a good all-round and closer view of the action, however this better view also comes at a cost - large scenic elements can only be placed at the rear of the stage. + In the 1960s and 70s new thrust theatre buildings started to incorporate a shallow proscenium style recess in the back wall. This enabled designers to include scenic effects such as large scale flying and larger structures in designs. + Shakespeare’s stage – the Thrust Stage + Parts of the stage Playwrights, actors and directors have particular terminology to denote the parts of a stage. Stage areas are named so that people can easily say where an actor needs to be. The areas of the stage are always related to the actor, so 'stage left' (SL) would be on the actor's left when facing the audience. The director watching from the audience, would see stage left on his or her right. + Common abbreviations for stage areas USR - Upstage Right USC - Upstage Centre USL - Upstage Left CR- Centre Right DSR-Downstage Right DSC-Downstage Centre DSL - Downstage Left CS - Centre Stage CL - Centre Left + Stage areas diagram USR USC USL CSR CS CSL DSR DSC DSL AUDIENCE + All the world’s a Stage! While we have seen that there are specific layouts and structures of stages that have been developed throughout the years, a stage does not have to be in a building called a theatre. Before there were built structures set aside for theatre there was drama and there were stages…. + In indigenous societies sacred spaces became stages for religious rituals Any space that was deemed sacred or was endowed with meaning by the community could be the site of the enacted of dramas that held religious significance. Some examples of such societies were: The Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians the Yoruba and the Japanese. All of these societies were the forerunners of what we know as Modern drama. + The Power of the Stage Let’s listen to the Prologue from Shakespeare’s Henry V about the imaginative power of the stage + Your thoughts… What was the Chorus saying about the stage in this play? Of what relevance is that to your understanding of the power of the stage? + Conclusion: Make a stage! There are a variety of stage types that have been used over the years in theatrical productions The type of stage is dependant on the type of production and the nature of the relationship between the actors and the audience You can create a stage using any space that is suited for the needs of your production. What separates a ‘space’ from a’ stage’ is how you treat it and the power of performance with which you endow it.