This stage configuration is pretty frequent. The audience seats directly in front of the stage, like on a proscenium stage. The audience would be categorized as a thrust stage if they were on all three sides. The main distinction between an end stage and a proscenium stage is that the end stage lacks an arch. So there are no boxes behind the actors where they can hide.
The term "thrust" comes from the fact that the audience sits directly in front of the action, like a knife thrusting out from its handle. This arrangement dates back at least as far as Nero's time (A.D. 37-68). He was the first emperor to use it for his theater shows. Before him, Greek and Roman actors usually sat in a half-circle around their patron. They could be on one side or both but never directly in front of the action.
The word "proscenium" comes from the Latin word for "arch," which is what you see when viewing the stage from the front of house. A proscenium arch is a framework of wood or metal that spans the opening between the acting space and the surrounding area. It often has decorative features attached to it. For example, the center section of a proscenium arch might have a ring cut out of it so that musicians could play while performers sang on stage. The word "proscenium" is also used for the arch itself.
The open stage, also known as the thrust stage or platform stage, is a dramatic stage without a proscenium that projects into the audience and is encircled by the audience on three sides. It was developed in Europe during the 11th century and became popular around 1350. The word itself comes from the Latin platus ("flat"), which describes its shape when viewed from the front.
These stages were used for dramatic performances, but they could also be used for music or acrobatics. They are particularly common for opera. An example can be seen in the image to the right. It shows an early 17th-century production of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's La serva padrona at the court of Pope Clement IX (1592–1605).
This type of stage was abandoned beginning in the 18th century, although it makes an occasional appearance in operas today.
Furthermore, a flat stage with columns behind which actors could hide while speaking to members of the audience was called a "meeting house" stage. These stages were common in England between 1550 and 1650. They could be used for plays, musical performances, and even public executions.
Finally, a type of closed stage with no opening except for one small door was called a "closet stage".
The following are the most prevalent forms of stage setups.
Stages of the platform They can have either a level or a raked sloping floor. The audience is divided into rows that face the stage. Platform stages are frequently utilized in multi-purpose venues where theatre is simply one of the many uses for the area. They are frequently referred to as "end stages" or "open stages" when the stage is open and without curtains. These terms may also be applied to proscenium arch theaters because there are no divisions between acts like on a traditional theater stage.
Platform stages were most popular in the 19th century but remain popular today. Their advantages are their low cost and easy maintenance compared to fixed theater architecture. Disadvantages include limited sightlines and lack of intimacy between audience members and performers.
There are three main types of platform stages: Raked, level, and sloped. The rake is usually defined by two or more lines of sight extending from the front of the stage to the back. Each row of seats has a view of the action on the stage. Level platforms are flat floors with no rake; they are most common in outdoor theaters. Sloped platforms are commonly found in indoor theaters and often have a floor made of cinder blocks or stone. They provide each audience member with a unique experience because each person sees a different part of the play.
The type of platform stage used at a particular venue determines what kind of plays can be done there.
The theatrical stage, often known as the "thrust stage," protrude into the audience and is encircled by it on three sides. The thrust stage, also known as the open stage or the platform stage, was utilized in the corrales of Spain's Golden Age of theater (about 1570) and in Japan's traditional Noh drama. It is still used for regional Chinese theater.
The thrust stage is particularly important in its use of perspective to create the illusion of depth within the theatre. Actors appearing on opposite sides of the stage are actually seen from slightly different angles, so that the whole scene appears to be located behind a screen. This helps audiences feel like they are part of the action even if they are not physically present at the time.
Thrust stages are most commonly made of wood, but metal versions have been constructed. The size of the stage will determine how many people can see the play at once; however, this could limit the number of actors able to appear on stage at one time.
In modern theatres, a thrust stage is usually built flat on a floor or platform with walls around it. A raised area in the center of the stage provides space for actors to move about and interact with each other.
Some modern theaters continue to use a wooden thrust stage, which is attached to a concrete base under the floor of the theatre. The base is surrounded by a rim of steel bars to form a circle through which actors can appear and disappear.