Architecture for the New Theatre

Architecture for the New Theatre

Architecture for the New Theatre

Architecture for the New Theatre

Excerpt

Some years ago, on a college examination paper in history, there appeared the question "Give as concisely as possible the facts about the reformation in Germany." One answer read as follows--"Martin Luther married a nun, thereby reforming Germany." Nobody could deny that the answer was concise and explicit, but brevity is not always the soul of accuracy. Just so, if we were to be asked today "Why has the matter of theatre architecture come so suddenly to the fore as of prime importance in relation to any new theatre life?" it would be impossible to answer both correctly and concisely. There are as many and as varied influences at work as there were in the German reformation--social and aesthetic impulses, political and scientific changes. The new problem of theatre architecture, "the shell in which performance lives", is, in fact, not new at all. It is only restated today somewhat more vigorously than it has been in two or three centuries, because it happens that several important developments affecting the life of the theatre have come together in time, focusing the attention.

Such major changes in social attitude as those involved in the modern call for mass art, new methods of play writing demanding from ten to twenty quick changes of scene instead of an ordered form of three or four acts, and such scientific developments as air conditioning, sound projection, acoustical assurance, and indirect lighting have united with the transfer of architectural emphasis from exterior design to inner function to stress . . .

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