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Proscenium Arch Theatre

  The proscenium arch theatre (from Latin pro scaenium, ‘in front of the stage’) is a form of theatre in which the stage is separated from the audience by an arch (the proscenium arch) behind which the action is staged. The arch in such theatres is traditionally filled with curtains which part (or rise) at the beginning of the play to reveal a scene which is viewed as though the fourth wall of a room had been removed. Such stages are, therefore, particularly suited to illusionistic and mimetic theatre because the audience can only see the action from the front, and are also hierarchical since the action can be seen more clearly from some seats than from others, whereas theatre in the round can be seen as more democratic. The proscenium arch stage has been attacked by theatre radicals for imposing both physical and metaphysical narrowness of vision on those who write for it, act in it, and watch plays in it. TRG SS

See also drama; naturalism; realism.Further reading Marvin Carlson, Places of Performance; , George Kernodle, From Art to Theatre; , Richard Southern, The Seven Ages of the Theatre.



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