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the part of a theater where the action takes place. The modern stage has evolved together with the development of dramaturgy and staging.
In the ancient Greek theater, the action took place in the orchestra, a circular area surrounded by the audience. During the Hellenistic era, the performance was acted on the proskenion, and in the Roman theater, on the proscenium. In the Middle Ages, city and village squares served as stages. As religious performances—mystery, miracle, and morality plays—became prevalent, various types of staging developed. They included the two-storied wagons known as pageants, whose number corresponded to the number of episodes in a given mystery play; a row of scenic structures placed on a rectangular platform facing the audience; and a number of booths, each representing a different locality.
In 16th-century England, platforms located in innyards and surrounded by inner galleries served as stages. During the 17th century, the Shakespearean stage developed in England. This was a raised platform the height of a person; the front spectators stood while watching the performance. Two pillars supporting the stage roof divided the platform into the main and middle stage. At the rear was the inner stage; behind it, in the second tier of the gallery, was the upper stage.
The use of perspective on stage was first achieved in the first half of the 16th century in Italy, when the proscenium arch was painted to depict streets in perspective (1539; architect S. Serlio). The development of wings, or pieces of scenery at the sides of the stage, took place in Italy in the late 16th and early 17th centuries; harmoniously positioned scenery on the right and left sides of the stage combined with the backdrops to create unity on the stage. In 1585 the wing construction known as the telari—a triangular prismatic frame—was introduced in Florence. Movable wings were used in Ravenna in 1639 (architect N. Sabbatini). Machines for moving wings, first used in 1619 in Parma in the Teatro Farnese, became prevalent throughout Europe in the 18th century. In Hamburg in 1794 the German actor and director F. Schroder was the first to use the pavilion—a stage setting on frames, depicting an interior scene.
In the subsequent development of the stage, the box set was further improved with constructions conforming to current needs, technological developments, the requirements of dramaturgy, directorial methods, and the search for new staging methods. In 1884 a stage that could be hydraulically raised and lowered was first used in Budapest, and in 1896 the revolving stage was introduced in Munich by the engineer K. Lautenschläger. Beginning in 1904, the hydraulically elevated stage (elevator stage) was combined with sets on wheels; the combination is widely used in major modern theaters.
The traditional stage is in the form of a closed box giving out onto the auditorium and connected to it by a portal opening called the stage area. The stage’s dimensions are dependent on the dimensions of the stage area: the stage is 2.5–3 times higher than and twice as wide as the stage area. The stage is divided vertically into the gridiron, the acting area, and the cellar floor beneath the stage. The acting area consists of the center stage, the proscenium, the upstage area, and the wings.
Along the right and left side walls of the stage, to a height of 1.5–2 m above the top of the stage area, there are several tiers of galleries for the lighting equipment, the stage mechanisms, and the controls for these mechanisms. The right and left galleries are connected by narrow (0.5 m) catwalks. The stage floor is often equipped with lifts and trapdoors that enable the performers to disappear from the stage floor to the cellar floor and then suddenly to reappear.
The stage floors of drama theaters generally have a revolving stage cut into them. Many modern theaters have offstage scenery bays, which facilitate the continuity of the action. These are areas on the right and left sides of the stage that are 2–3 m greater in depth and height than the dimensions of the stage area. The scenery bays contain movable platforms (wagons) mounted on wheels, each holding the set for an entire act. Wagons from the scenery bays are used together with turntable wagons from the upstage area.
REFERENCESEkskuzovich, I. V. Tekhnika teatral’noi stseny v proshlom i nastoiashchem. Leningrad, 1930.
Izvekov, N. P. Stsena, parts 1–2. Leningrad-Moscow, 1935–40.
Unruh, W. Theatertechnik. Berlin, 1969.
G. V. SHEVELEV
ii. In axial-flow compressors, one disc of rotor blades and the following set of stator vanes.
iii. One complete element of a multistage process, normally compression or expansion, through which fluid is passed, such as the passage of gases through a diffuser.
iv. The sector, or military, portion of an air route between two staging units, sometimes for flight planning purposes. One point on the route.
v. To stage through a staging station. An aircraft proceeding from one airfield to another, or proceeding from an airfield to a target outside its radius of action. To refuel at a staging base.