THE DESIGNERS PART ONE:THE FALSE PROSCENIUM and the 4th WALL REMOVED Chapter 6
The Proscenium ArchDeveloped during the Italian Renaissance,the Proscenium Theater is perhaps the mostfamiliar of the architectural theater types.A large arch “frames” the stage. Theaudience sits in front of the arch, and mostof the action takes place behind it. There isusually a large curtain (the grand drape)which rises at the beginning of theperformance and falls at the conclusion.
The False Proscenium As the proscenium arch became popular,designers began to “decorate” it. Actually,they created a “second” or “false”proscenium which stood just behind theoriginal one. This false proscenium servedto narrow the proscenium opening and toornamentally support the overall stagedesign. Notice the different design stylesof these “false” prosceniums.
False proscenium for Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock HolmesNotice how the false proscenium unifies the various locations
False proscenium for Scarlet Pimpernel
Scenic drop for Drood
False proscenium for Drood
False prosceniums forKnickerbocker Holiday
Examples of proscenium style theater with the “4th Wall Removed”This style of scenery became very popular once theatremoved indoors and employed the nearly exclusive useof the proscenium arch. The set resembles an“architecturally correct” interior room where it appearsthat we (the audience) are looking in as though the 4thwall were removed.Note the angle of the set for for both “Sherlock Holmes”& “1776” and how it juts out to give a slight feeling of a“thrust stage”. Also, notice how the light angles andcolors give you a sense of the “time of day”.