Special education articles, higher education

Should directors dispense with theatre curtains?

Posted on Jun 13, 2016 in Edu

Theatre curtains are designed so as to camouflage backstage areas of the theatre from the audience. Spectators know that the action begins when the curtain goes up. By tradition, performances are accentuated by the rise and the fall of the large pieces of cloth and this knowledge has manged to survive in everyday language. Nonetheless, it seems that many directors are thinking about dispensing with the idea. They visit sites like http://www.safestageservices.com  looking rather for acoustic systems than for curtains. The movement is so far advanced that theatre curtains are becoming something of an endangered species. Newer theatres in particular do not possess curtains, not to mention that traditional space directors are not hurrying to use them. So, it is only natural to wonder if all stage directors should dispense of theatre curtains.

The consistent trend  

What you are most likely to notice nowadays is that actors sit impassively in the middle of the stage, actually starring profoundly at the incoming audience, or relaxing in a sofa, covered with blankets. You may ask yourself what they can achieve with these pre-textual prologues. Well, the answer is quite simple unfortunately: by blurring the start time, they are on the quest for a greater realism. What they want in fact is the sense that their performance is joining a journey which started long before they go ton stage. Basically, they do not need suspension or belief.

This is a risky strategy

While the performance community may think that they can do without stage curtains, they are wrong. Not using theatre curtains will definitely create unease in any auditorium. When they are caught in a threshold land in which the actor is not engaged in any action, spectators will either sit in silence, or, worse, they will begin whispering. The point is that they will not participate in any way and rather be passive the entire theatrical evening. In other words, they will be acting as if the actor is not there at all. So, if they exchange uncomplimentary lines, the actor will inevitably hear them since he is sitting a couple of feet away. Actors who participate in these kind of scenes will need a thick skin.

A greater flaw of the technique

The fact is that there still has to be a time when the performance formally begins. The lights should therefore go down on stage at least and the movement of transition from pre-play to play should be gradual. However, the tactic would still be inappropriate for modern plays in which the scene begins in the middle or in the argument. It is impossible for characters to stand still until everyone is in. Curtains are the better alternative because they mask the actors from the spectators until this happens. Curtains will also spare the actors the embarrassment of having to hear the comments of the audience.

The conclusion

Curtains have a place in the theatrical tradition for a good reason. Certain effects are necessary in order to convey the message that has to be sent from the stage to the audience and stage curtains are an efficient medium for this purpose. By simple using curtains made from various fabrics, directors can achieve dramatic effects. So, the answer to the question is no. no, directors should not dispose of theatre curtains. On the contrary, they should be looking for ones that can help them create the stage of world.