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The World of Theatre

-The Permanent Playhouse-

James Burbage, a carpenter, built the first permanent theatres in the City of London.
Before having a stable home, plays were usually represented on a variety of stages, like noblemen's houses', Queen's palaces or in every public place where it was possible to gather a crowd.

-The Architecture of Theatres-

Permanent theatres were circular or octagonal.
The staged was surrounded on three sides from three tiers (rows) of roofed galleries, looking down on the stage and the yard, where there were the poorer spectators, the 'groundlings'.

-The Internal Layout-

The Stage, known as 'Apron Stage', was really close to the audience; on this stage there could be no more than twelve actors at the same time.
Over the Stage, there was the 'Shadow' or a roof that protected the players from the rain.
In the front of the Stage, there was a 'Trap Door', used for devilish apparitions and disappearances.

In the rear of the Stage, there was the 'Tiring House', a place where actors changed their attire; there were two doors for entrances and exits.
Behind the Stage, there was an 'Inner Stage', hidden by a curtain when it wasn't in use.
There were also an 'Upper Stage’, which was also hidden by a curtain, and another area normally used by musicians.

-Elizabethan and Modern Theatres-

The structure of Elizabethan Theatres is the bigger difference from Modern Theatres.
In the Modern Theatre actors are separated from the audience by a curtain; spectators are hidden in the dark, when actors plays in the bright light.

In the Apron Stage, the actors act in daylight and in the middle of the audience.
The device of the Soliloquy wasn’t artificial, but a natural form of communication, where a character explained his thoughts and intentions, and he didn’t need to shout.

-The Scenery-

There was no ‘scenery’, but just a limited number of props (properties, like tables, chairs, swords, etc.) that needed to show the context of the scene.
The action was continuous and a scene ended when the actor or the actors had gone off from the stage.
The exact locality of the scene was unimportant, but sometimes it was showed in the dialogues between two or more actors.

-The Actors-

The Elizabethan actor was a busy man, because he had to study constantly new plays.
There were no women actress and the parts of women where acted by men.
Actors usually where reunite in permanent associations.

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