February 22, 2024

The Stage Set for Design

“How is different is a thrust stage from a proscenium arch stage?” Asked one of 41 architecture students, visiting, Jagriti from Manipal University on Wednesday, 01 Feb when I mentioned that Jagriti has a thrust stage.
“The dynamics of the stage is different. It’s more intimate and the audience is watching you from angles that vary over 200 degrees of arc.”
They asked why there was no provision of microphones on stage for a play. To which I mentioned that the acoustics are perfect and they looked around and above to see the aspects that make Jagriti, acoustically sound. The walls are not load bearing and are composed of hollow blocks filled with glass wool.
From the Control Room, to the accessible Cat-Walk, Jagriti’s spaces were thoroughly checked and the students’ questions were all answered.
They were curious about the number of lights, being 62 for Jagriti and the requirement. I explained the various moods – bright and sunny, sombre and bleak, cold and threatening, cosy and toughing could all be conveyed with the use of light. The times of day, would obviously, require the different kinds of lights. How they would work together and how they flowed from one to the other were the basics of a good lighting plan. Often than not, more lights being used at the same time.
An interesting question to me was, “When there is a scene change, how do you do it without a curtain? I explained working lights, to them, which to my knowledge is the bare minimum that a backstage member, clad in black, would require to change the set for the next scene.
“Won’t the audience see that the set is being changed?” followed.
“Well, doesn’t the audience know that it’s a live performance and there are going to be changes in the scene that won’t happen with the snap of a finger like they’re watching TV or a video? Plus, I’ve noticed this keeps the audience interested in between scenes so they don’t stare at a blank curtain while the change happens.”
The students were working on a project of designing a theatre space and their visit was to give them clarity on the best use to space. At some point, a student, they had seen the trophy for the Ace for Spaces Award 2011 awarded to Jagriti as the best public space in India.
Shankar R Chugani

Architecture students from Manipal University at Lumbini, Jagriti after a tour of the space. Photo Credit: Arijit Debnath