For those who don't know already, a periaktos - the plural is periaktoi
- originated as an ancient Greek invention, using a wooden triangular "prism" with a different painting on each face, so it could be turned quickly to create a scene change.
By the August 1605 visit of James 1 and the royal family, Inigo Jones had come onboard to bring Italianate staging to Oxford and to convert the great hall into "a perspectival theatre--the first known in England--enhanced by the use of periaktoi
During the Renaissance, some theatrical designers tried to utilize classical devices, such as the periaktoi, described by the Roman architect Vitruvius, to change the scenery in their productions.
In addition, the backstage area (and the stage hands) would have been revealed as the periaktoi turned.
(20) In any case, both painted scenery and the Vitruvian revolving backdrops (periaktoi) were adopted:
(26) Another fashionable supernatural element was also added as a second radical change to the dramatis personae; Wake tells us that one of Inigo Jones's three periaktoi depicted the "furiarum domicilia" (dwellings of the Furies), a physical setting that we never see in Sophocles' play.
Graff's and Lynch's refusal to let their troupe get Fosse'd up is a major contributor to show's appeal, as is David Gallo's colorful set, with sliding panels and rotating periaktoi
that instantly evoke the hallways and cafeteria that encompass the kids' world.
In another nod to theatre history, periaktoi
above home plate rotate to transform images on a billboard, displaying Stars and Stripes as a backdrop for the Statue of Liberty during the National Anthem.
According to a contemporary observer, Ignazio Danti, Lanci used periaktoi, rotating vertical triangular prisms with different scenes painted on each side, to make possible quick set changes.
Lanci's periaktoi took the shallow stage of the Salone about as far as it could go.