History of Theatre 5 – The Illusion Illustrated, Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza and Sabbioneta (Eng. Esp.)


History of Western Theatre The Illusion Illustrated After the Roman era for centuries no permanent theatres were built. In the sixteenth century the Italian architect: Sebastiano Serlio designed a typical ancient Roman theatre, which is never built… Skenotheke – storeroom for the properties Stage – playing space Orchestra Auditorium – gallery Serlio (Renaissance) – Vitruvius (Roman) Collonade Serlio did build several temporary stages in palace halls. Mathematical perspective, which was just discovered in those days, was applied in the scenery, in order to enlarge the theatrical illussion. This is Serlio’s comic scene. Backdrop Scenery flats The ground-plan of Serlio’s hall theatre The perspective scenery necessitated a relatively large space behind the stage. The perspective was constructed from the seat of the monarch. Vanishing point Platform – Cross-section – Gallery L’œil du prince (“the eye of the prince”) Andrea Palladio designed in 1579 the oldest, still existing theatre in Europe after the Roman era: Olimpico Theatre This theatre is part of a block of buildings in Vincenza, a city in the North of Italy. It is a miniature Roman theatre brought indoors. Behind the three gates in the scaenae frons and two gates aside, a permanent.so-called, false perspective scenery is erected. The rising and narrowing streets create an illusion of depth. The gate in the back for instance, is only one-and-a-half meter tall Of course, in these perspective-streets acting is impossible. The seven streets are designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, and represent an ‘ideal city’. A city which Palladio actually tried to realize in Vicenza. To be able to admire the scenery behind the scaenae frons, in particular the gate in the middle: the Porta Regia was substantially enlarged. ‘The Persians’ – Aeschylus (staged in 1966) Olimpico Theatre Before the discovery of gas-light, the auditorium an scenery was illuminated by torches, and hundreds of oil-lamps. Made of glass, or of tin. Consequently, many theatres were destroyed by fire. In 1585 Teatro Olimpico was inaugurated with a play of Sofocles: Oedipus Rex or King Oedipus. Monochrome fresco on a wall in the theatre,
painter unknown (1596) Hoc opus, hic labor est: This is the task and this is the struggle. Roma Quanta Fuit Ipsa Ruina Docet How great was Rome, its ruins already tell it. This is a quote from Serlio. Five years after the inauguration of Teatro Olimpico, so in 1590, in Sabbioneta, a city near Vicenza, a theatre with the same name was inaugurated. This is the oldest remaining theatre – after the Romans – that is housed in a separate building. The theatre is designed by a pupil of Palladio, the earlier mentioned Vincenzo Scamozzi. This small theatre has no Roman scaenae frons, but like the theatre in Vicenza, it has a permanent, false-perspective scenery, consisting of one perspective-street, The present-day scenery was built in de twentieth century. On the back-wall you can still see fragments of paintings, designed by Scamozzi. Scamozzi’s scenery-designs Sabbioneta – Vicenza Olimpico Theatre Sabbioneta – Vincenzo Scamozzi A Roman collonade, behind the auditorium is maintained. A chance visitor recites from Bérénice, written by Jean Racine. Sabbioneta is a typical court-theatre, from the seat of the monarch one has the best view upon the perspective scenery The theatre in Vicenza, however, offers more perspective vista’s. But this theatre is founded by a literary society, of which all members are regarded as equals. Theatres with a permantent scenery
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