proscenium

/proh see"nee euhm, preuh-/, n., pl. proscenia /-nee euh/. Theat.
1. Also called proscenium arch. the arch that separates a stage from the auditorium. Abbr.: pros.
2. (formerly) the apron or, esp. in ancient theater, the stage itself.
[1600-10; < L proscenium, proscaenium < Gk proskénion entrance to a tent, porch, stage (LGk: stage curtain), equiv. to pro- PRO-2 + sken(é) (see SCENE) + -ion neut. n. suffix]

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In a theatre, the frame or arch separating the stage from the auditorium, through which the action of a play is viewed.

In ancient Greek theatres, the proskenion was an area in front of the skene that eventually functioned as the stage. The first permanent proscenium in the modern sense was built in 1618 at the Farnese Theatre in Parma. Though the arch contained a stage curtain, its main purpose was to provide a sense of spectacle and illusion; scene changes were carried out in view of the audience. Not until the 18th century was the curtain commonly used to hide scene changes. The proscenium opening was of particular importance to 19th-century realist playwrights, for whom it served as a picture frame or an invisible wall through which the audience experienced the illusion of spying on the characters.

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 in theatre, the frame or arch separating the stage from the auditorium, through which the action of a play is viewed.

      In the ancient Greek theatre, the proscenium (Greek: proskēnion) originally referred to a row of colonnades, supporting a raised acting platform (logeion), and afterward to the entire acting area. A proscenium in the modern sense was first installed in a permanent theatre in 1618–19 at the Farnese Theatre (Farnese, Teatro) built in Parma, Italy. It had been introduced as a temporary structure at the Italian court about 50 years earlier. Although this arch did contain a stage curtain, its main purpose was to provide atmosphere and a sense of spectacle, and scene changes were still carried out in view of the audience. It was not until the 18th century that the stage curtain was commonly used as a means of hiding scene changes.

      The proscenium's structure was first expanded by Squire Bancroft (Bancroft, Sir Squire) and his wife, Marie Bancroft, to enclose the lower side of the stage at London's Haymarket Theatre in 1880, creating a “picture frame” or an imaginary fourth wall through which the audience experienced the illusion of spying on characters behaving exactly as if they were unobserved. With the advent of electricity, the illusion was further enhanced by controlled lighting, which made it possible to darken the auditorium where the audience was seated and create the illusion for the spectator that he was not in a theatre.

      The proscenium theatre, though still popular in the 20th century (especially for large auditoriums), was supplemented by other types of theatres designed for fuller communication between actor and audience. Hence the revival of other, more intimate forms of theatre, such as the open stage and the theatre-in-the-round.

Additional Reading
Richard Leacroft and Helen Leacroft, Theatre and Playhouse (1984).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • proscenium — [ prɔsenjɔm ] n. m. • 1719; mot lat., gr. proskênion ♦ Antiq. Corniche qui coupe le mur de fond et surplombe la scène d un théâtre antique. Mod. Avant scène. ● proscenium nom masculin (latin proscenium, du grec proskênion, de skênê, mur de scène) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • PROSCENIUM — locus erat ante Scenam porrectus, in quo Pulpitum, agentium loquentiumque sedes, altius Prosceniô et Orchestrâ, uti Scenâ depressius. Ibi gesticulatione, cantu et saltatione, Artifices, personis in Scena abditis, populum detinebant. Io. rosin.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • proscenium — PROSCÉNIUM s.n. v. prosceniu. Trimis de ana zecheru, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  PROSCÉNIUM s.n. v. prosceniu. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • proscenium — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. n V, lm M. prosceniumnia {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} część sceny teatralnej znajdująca się przed zasuniętą kurtyną; przedscenie : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Aktorzy wyszli na proscenium.… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • proscenium — ► NOUN (pl. prosceniums or proscenia) 1) the part of a stage in front of the curtain. 2) (also proscenium arch) an arch framing the opening between the stage and the auditorium. ORIGIN Greek prosk nion, from pro before + sk n …   English terms dictionary

  • proscenium — [prō sē′nē əm] n. pl. prosceniums or proscenia [prō sē′nēə] [L < Gr proskēnion < pro , before + skēnē, tent, stage: see SCENE] 1. the stage of an ancient Greek or Roman theater 2. a) the apron of a stage b) t …   English World dictionary

  • Proscenium — Pro*sce ni*um, n.; pl. {Proscenia}. [L., fr. Gr. ?; ? before + ? a tent, a wooden stage, the stage. See {Scene}.] 1. (Anc. Theater) The part where the actors performed; the stage. [1913 Webster] 2. (Modern Theater) The part of the stage in front… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Proscenĭum — (v. gr.), 1) Vorbühne, der Theil des alten Theaters, wo die Schauspieler agirten, s. u. Theater; 2) jetzt der freie Raum vor dem Vorhang, s. ebd …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Proscenĭum — (lat.), s. Theater …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Proscenium — Proscenium, der Raum zwischen der eigentlichen Bühne und dem Orchester …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Proscenium — Proscenium, im alten Theater der Platz vor der Bühne, etwas niedriger als dieselbe, vor der Orchestra; im neuen Theater der vordere Theil der Bühne …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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