October 15, 2004

Seating in theatrons

*Best Seating:- Near the front- where you can see all of the action and your view is not blocked by other people.
*Worst Seating:- High up where you can not see the action clearly and are not involved at all.
*Physical conditions then:- Cramped, crowded, alking, eating and drinkng. Viewers could heckle and make noise, get up and leave, come and go as they pleased, at all times of the day
*Conventional conditions now:- Quite and sombre atmosphere, in the dark, people do not make noise, each person has their own seat and individual space.

"If someone beside you sobbed or shuddered or trembled, you would feel it directly, and a wave of physical reaction could pass like an electric shock through all your neighbours . . mass emotionalism flourishes in compact crowds of that kind." – W.B Stanford
  • There is a different atmosphere created and therefore a different experience. In ancient theatre the audience acted as one body, reacted together and had the same experiences together. In modern theatre this is not so and each individual makes their own interpretation of the play. Personal space did not exist either and so the group was emphasised more and so they could share the theatre experience together.
  • It also meant that the audience may not have been able to concentrate in ancient theatre as there would be many distraction and noises around them. In modern theatre the atmosphere is quiet and respectful to the actors on stage and so a completely different experience would occur.
  • People who were further back would not be able to see the action properly and therefore the actors would need to exaggerate gestures and movement in order to portray he action. Sight lines mean that the actors would have to be constantly moving in order to address all of the audience also to involve them all.
  • The chorus would have to move as one body to give the general idea of the action. The larger staging and seating would mean that the chorus could do more elaborate and larger movements. It meant that smaller gestures were lost, facial expressions could not always be seen, and so the voice and gestures would be very important. Further back in the theatre would require increased volume in speeches and larger movement also.

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