DESIGN GUIDE: MUSIC AND DRAMA CENTERS
CHAPTER 5: THE INTIMATE ROOM
fication brings to music what the television cam-
The audience can be placed unconventionally in
era brings to theater, a paradoxically close-in re-
an otherwise simple volume, which at once
moteness, an expansion of possibilities along
heightens awareness of the overall singular
with preselection and control of the delivered
space and the existence of two entities, audience
experience. In the extreme, electronic media
and performers, within it. In a basically Frontal
room like the small theater at Eugene Perform-
strip music and theater of the give and take be-
ing Arts Center, one senses an immediate con-
tween performers and audience, and it is that
communion which live music and theaterand
frontation as the audience advances on the per-
former from two directions. At Simon's Rock,
the Army's MDC programseek to restore and
where dance movement demanded a diagonal
placement to increase stage dimension, the per-
The attempt to unite audience and performer
formance space seems to cut off and work on
creates a conflict in architectural objectives.
the audience. Stage extensions which provide a
Most of the examples illustrated use an archi-
greater variety of entrances also reinforce the
tectural language that acknowledges dissimilar
impact of the diagonal.
elements, unlikely juxtapositions and frank util-
ity to create a whole understandable for the con-
The audience can be made more aware of itself,
trasts among parts. Each has been crafted in its
which increases the impression of intimacy.
Boettcher Concert Hall seats 2,750 listeners
own way, making no assertions about absolute
correctness or universality. However, it can be
in a Surround relationship. But the room's ge-
said each addresses the objective of intensifying
ometry has no single focal point. Each portion
the audience-performer interaction by using the
of seating is placed at a different level and angle
resources at hand.
of vision, each occupant has a "special" place
but is made aware of the rest of the audience.
The audience can be encouraged to explore vis-
ually a great variety of materials, textures and
confronts the performers on all sides, and they
objects taken out of everyday context and set in
must actively address themselves to their
u n e x p e c t e d j u x t a p o s i t i o n . New Lafayette
Theater invites the observer's participation in
figuring out the room, which is composed of
The audience's expectations of traditional formal
glazed tile, expanded metal, marble, concrete,
characteristics can also be played on to refresh
plywood, corrugated plastic, lightbulbs and frag-
awareness of audience-performer relationship.
ments of opposing organization. It prepares the
One of the classical characteristics is symmetry.
audience for what takes place in three dimen-
At Playhouse in the Park, a geometrically con-
sions on the Thrust stage.
stant seating bowl meets an asymmetrical play-
ing area; their centerlines do not coincide. One
side of the audience is higher above stage than
the other as the performing area cuts through
and leads to entranceways at different angles.
At Fisher Theater, the audience is asymmetri-
cally arranged in two segments, which permits
the action to seep into the generous playing area
from all corners. Both solutions operate in an
active relationship rather than a static one.