When it comes to Commedia dell’Arte and other masked theatre that are
using entrées and sorties we need a backdrop. We don’t want the actors to vanish
away in a distance.
Since it is easy for the wind to make the backdrop to giant sail it is important that the material in the backdrop is not to dense so the air can go through. In other cases one can do “mouths” in the backdrop. (Just make sure to make them happy mouths.)
The backdrop should be at least 2,5 meter tall, so that it really make a background for the actors. We must have in mind the angle when the spectators are standing on the ground while the actors are up on the stage.
The placing of the stage is also important when playing in the streets. Every town and every street corner looks different. Therefore it is not possible to put up any general rules for where to put up the stage, but here is some pieces of advice that will help to be seen and heard:
- When playing in the evening make sure it is the actors, not the audience that has the sun in their eyes. This is even more important to think about when it is a haze or when the sun momentarily is going into clouds. After all it is more important that the audience sees the actors clearly than the other way around.
- The actors should have the wind in their backs in order to have the wind to carry the actor’s voices the right way. It is hard to hear from the stage how much of the sound reaches the audience. We will have to lean on the audience’s response.
- If there is a possibility to find a place where we can find a wall behind the audience where the sound can bounce back much of the difficulties in playing outdoors can be solved.
- If there also is possible to find a corner of the square or an alley, rather than playing in the middle of the square, it would help. It is admittedly more people that see the show, but it is necessarily not those who stay for any length of time. If we don’t attract a very large crowd who can work as a wall around the stage themselves, there will be lots of distractions for the audience. Most of the people passing are also people who are already going somewhere and don’t have time to stay.
- It is also worth figuring out how we want the audience to be placed around or in front of the stage, depending of what kind or show we want to play.
Go to Part 1