Summary

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Historic Films
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CT-120
Eight models of new-type (1962) theaters designed by collaboration between distinguished stage designers and architects are shown and discussed. Architect Frederick Kiesler's "Universal Theatre" is featured, having been praised by Arthur Miller. Kiesler appears on camera to sing its praises. Each represents one of the eight concepts of ideal theater. The models were subsidized by the Ford Foundation and are on display at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York City. Three-dimensional models represent "new concepts in staging." The proscenium arch is gone or disposable. The Ethel Barrymore of the '20's was the last conventional theater to be built on Broadway. Theater designs by: Ralph Alswang (stage designer) and Paul Rudolph (architect) 2,000 seat house with film projectors so actors can flow out of film and melt back into it. Ellen Elder and Edward Stone: an outdoor theater with a pit, movable roofs, surrounded by pools of water with an acting arena that thrusts into three-sided audience seats. Barrie Greebie and Elizabeth Harris (designer and choreographer respectively): a theater for dance, with a stage floor of interlocking and rearrangeable platforms. David Hayes and Peter Blake: a 299 seat theater with the dimensions of a loft. It provides for theater in the round or 3/4 round with related half-levels. It is the size of three New York brownstone houses. George Izenour and Paul Schweikher, a theater with a theater school, rehearsal and performance space, and movable seat banks. It can be a night club or a caucus room. Jo Mielziner and Edward Barnes; the model has a conical structure for scenery room. It is a place for inward activity, for intimate musical drama, not for spectacles. Ben Schlanger and Donald Oenslager; this theater seats the maximum number of people for the least cost. It aims for a relationship between actors and audience and tries for greatest impact on the audience. Interview with producer Robert Whitehead. Themes: Designs are very functional, but how do directors and playwrights conceive what they're going to do? All of the models abolish the proscenium for economic and stylistic reasons. Whitehead comments that "emotional qualities of a play can come through even in a barn." 1962. Eight models of new-type theaters designed by collaboration between distinguished stage designers and architects are shown and discussed. Architect Frederick Kiesler's "Universal Theatre" is made the star of the show, having been praised by Arthur Miller. Kiesler appears on camera to sing its praises. Producer Robert Whitehead whose current play was "A Man For All Seasons" also appears on camera. 02:10 Models of the eight theaters are shown. MacAndrew v/o talks about the eight concepts of ideal theater. The models were subsidized by the Ford Foundation and are on display at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. In a seventeen three-dimensional models represent "new concepts in staging." Proscenium is gone or disposable. The Ethel Barrymore of the '20's was the last theater to be built on Broadway. There is a "revolution in our theater," he says but clearly he means "theater house." 12:00 The camera roves each model. MODEL 1: Ralph Alswang (stage designer) and Paul Rudolph (architect) 2,000 seat house with film projectors so actors can flow out of film and melt back into it. MODEL 2: Ellen Elder and Edward Stone. This is an outdoor theater with a pit for Shakespeare and concerts, movable roofs, surrounded by pools of water with an acting arena that thrusts into three-sided audience seats. MODEL 3: Barrie Greebie and Elizabeth Harris (designer and choreographer respectively). This is a theater for dance. It has movable platforms with a stage floor of interlocking and rearrangeable platforms. MODEL 4: David Hayes and Peter Blake. This 299 seat theater has the dimensions of a loft. It provides for theater in the round or 3/4 round with related half-levels. It is the size of three New York brownstone houses. MODEL 5: George Izenour and Paul Schweikher. This model has a theater school, rehearsal and performance space, and movable seat banks. It can be a night club or a caucus room. It "faces 20th century in school situation." MODEL 6: Jo Mielziner and Edward Barnes. This model has a conical structure for scenery room. It is a place for inward activity, for intimate musical drama, not for spectacles. MODEL 7: Ben Schlanger and Donald Oenslager. This theater seats the maximum number of people for the least cost. It aims for a relationship between actors and audience and tries for greatest impact on the audience. 02:45 INTERVIEW: MacAndrew introduces Whitehead. Designs are very functional, but how do directors and playwrights conceive what they're going to do? All of the models abolish the proscenium for economic and stylistic reasons. MODEL 8: "Universal Theater" of Frederick Kiesler. MacAndrew says this theater bridges present and past. Kiesler says it is based on the first arena theater of 1924, but not as idea is to bring theater back to its base on the human being and not as decor. In this theater, "I can change theater to a ramp, an environment, as it's one continuous shell." It has light projections and different levels of acting arenas. New York is looking forward to a new building boom. The six stories of Kiesler's theater provides room for TV studios, radio stations, and exhibitions. This theater supports all the units that make possible the life of theater. Whitehead comments that "emotional qualities of a play can come throughout even in a barn. Frederick Kiesler, architect Robert Whitehead, producer of "A Man For All Seasons"
1962
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