DESIGN GUIDE: MUSIC AND DRAMA CENTERS
CHAPTER 3: DRAMA ROOM QUALITIES
3-3. DRAMA ROOM
of relationships among actors is critical and sce-
nic material should not hinder vision. Dramatic
and directors' interpretations may place different
references. Within limits, the same literature can
A. VISION FACTORS
be adapted to different stage forms.
A Room built for Drama should enhance the spe-
3. Ability to See Detail
cial qualities of live performance that cannot be
Dramatic performance emphasizes perception of
transmitted in film, video or printed media.
trol of viewpoint and the communication of
distance and angle of address. Distorted per-
spontaneous reactions, shared with others and
spective, usually a result of close quarters, and
registered on the course of events. Some of this
is verbal byplay, but theater is a place where
should be avoided.
images become as malleable as words. Certain
qualities of the Room lend facility to this purpose.
This is a double-edged judgment of quality.
1. Ability to See Stage
Everyone should have a superb experience of
The best Rooms permit a clear view of the entire
the drama, but it will not necessarily be the same
performance area and surrounding scene space.
experience. If one assumes the artist's purpose
On a Frontal Stage, the most critical vision field
is to communicate to the audience a specific im-
is downstage for the width of the acting area.
age, the uniformity of what every viewer sees is
However, the acting space must be seen in
a positive value. This concept of "uniform effect"
is sometimes considered an advantage of a Fron-
tal configuration, based on maximizing seats
2. Ability to See Action
near the Room centerline.
A key element of Drama is movement, which is
most readily perceived across the line of vision.
Obviously, factors of distance and vertical angle
For the Frontal form, this movement is basically
can be equally important. If the artist's purpose
side-to-side with respect to the centerline of the
is to communicate with the audience, proximity
and focus are also positive values. The quality
major frame of reference, while scenic elements
of "intimacy" is more easily associated with the
furnish context and scale. In the absence of a
Thrust and Surround configurations that create
proscenium (open stage) action assumes an im-
the sense of audience and performers together
mediate, "in the same room" quality unless sce-
in one space. A Frontal room can also be inti-
nery and lighting contrasts are made to perform
mate, either because it is small enough to pro-
the proscenium function. For projected stage
mote eye-contact or because the audience is
forms with no proscenium, action is perceived
aware it shares a mutual experience within the