I recently attended a theater play in Chicago during a weekend visit, and what I learned as the fundamentals of theater art during the few hours of attendance is more than we normally think of theatrical plays. While in my mind the most important aspect f theater play has been the way the characters execute their cast roles, I learned that the success of any stage play largely depends on the stage design, lighting, and harmony, than the mere competence of the characters in executing their role. Having been lucky to find a seat near the front row, it did not take long before the curtains opened, and the characters on the stage were displayed. However, it is the manner in which the stage opened that made the suspension to watch the play increase twofold.
First, the musical rhythm that preceded the opening of the curtains was fast, scary and rough, that I was able to make a conclusion that the play we were about to watch was horrific. Stage design is an important aspect of theater presentation, which does not only entail the mere presentation of the play, but also the accompanying elements such as music, which in turn sets the atmosphere mood, tone, and style of the play (Martin & Jacobus, 2014). It is at this point that I started considering the art of theatrical presentation in a manner that has rarely hit my mind since for the first time I realized that simple elements such as the musicals preceding the stage play can inform the audience on the nature of theater performance they should expect. Additionally, it also became clear in my mind that without such musicals, then the play would have lost its meaning since the meaning of the play was given by the preceding musical.
The other important aspect that I learned is the value of lighting in theatrical presentations. While the introduction music was playing, the curtains had been reflected by a very bright illuminating light, but with the last bang in the musical, the stage lighting suddenly turned into dark, then dull, then a mixture of rainbow colors, and with the mixed set of lighting, the first episode would begin, which entirely happened under lighting pattern that shifted from dark to dull, and within a few minutes, a dark power had terrorized people on the stage set that represented a village. The lighting pattern would then continue to change as the episodes transitioned, with bright light characterizing the neutral and less violent scenes, while the rest of the scenes were characterized by light gradation from dull to total darkness patterns. Thus with the lighting pattern, then came the essence of change in the locations and setting of the play, since the stage remained as one, but the lighting pattern was able to manifest different locations such as the church, home, and a basement room, where the dark powers were terrorizing people who could be dragged from homes or the church.
The theme of the play was the power of good over evil, where a small boy was able to save his village from the rampaging evil powers that had terrorized the village, through keeping the faith and persisting in prayers when everybody else had given up. Nevertheless, the lighting design alone could not have been effective in presenting the theme and the changing play settings, were it not for the background paintings that would transition as the scenes changed, from the church background to the home background and then back to the church or the basement room background, depending on the sequence of the play. Thus, lighting, stage background, and music are important elements of a theatrical presentation (Martin & Jacobus, 2014). This is because; they set the pattern of transitioning of the locations and settings of the play, while the stage remains the same. However, even when the lighting pattern and the background painting on the stage were telling of the changing scenes of the play, the musical harmony was an essential aspect of informing the audience on the transition of the play from one act to the other, since the rhythms, tones and melodic tunes kept changing as the scenes changed.
Thus, there is no doubt that theater performance is not a component of the cast and role plays, but the harmonization of the characters casting roles, with the music, stage arrangement, and background formation as well as matching all that with appropriate lighting designs (Martin & Jacobus, 2014). Thus, my visit to the theater has taught me valuable lessons related to theater performances, which has changed my initial perception and understanding of the success of theater and drama performances as being determined by the competence of the characters executing their cast roles seamlessly. The components of design that include lighting, music, background and stage design are all complementary aspects of a stage performance.
Martin, F. D., & Jacobus, L. A. (2014). The humanities through the arts.