FREQUENT REFERENCE has been made in the preceding chapters to the relative sizes of performances, but there has been no previous opportunity to discuss the problem as a whole. The size of a performance is a matter of vital importance to the actor, particularly today when performances are given in so many different types of theaters, such as conventional proscenium-arch theaters of all sizes and the newer "arena" or "in-the-round" theaters, as well as in motion pictures, on the radio, and on television.
The actor will need to develop his techniques so that he will be able to adapt them readily to the conditions under which a particular performance is to be given. Many a skilled player who has had most of his training in small theaters seating less than 500 persons has found that he is much less effective when he is called upon to play in larger theaters; and many actors with most, or all, of their experience playing in large theaters have found themselves at a disadvantage when working in such media as motion pictures and television, where the camera, and therefore the audience, is frequently within a few feet of them. The size of a performance is of tremendous importance to the motion-picture actor because the techniques of a performance to be filmed as a long shot are different from those to be used in a close-up.
Many factors besides the size of the auditorium or of the particular medium in which a performance is to be given have an effect upon the size of a performance. The most important of these is the quality of the play itself. Some plays, because of their subject material and the author's treatment of that material, are more suitable for large performances in large theaters, while other plays require smaller performances and demand more intimate contact with the audience.
Frequently the quality of a play which determines the size of the performance was derived from the theaters and auditoriums with which the author was familiar and for which he wrote the play. The Greek dramas, which were originally conceived for performances on huge outdoor