- $255 for a 17-week acting course for one kid, age 8–12 ($425 value)
Black-Box Theater: Dreaming in the Dark
“In light you are only half-conscious of the stage and half-conscious of your neighbor . . . In darkness he is eliminated and you are alone with the actor.” So wrote English director and playwright Harley Granville-Barker, an early proponent of the black-box theater around the turn of the 20th century. A black-box configuration—that is, a square or rectangular room with a changeable floor and lighting plan—has many benefits for theater companies. It’s easy to build, allows quick changes of scenery for a space hosting multiple shows at once, and, of course, provides designers and directors lots of flexibility to realize their visions. But it’s also long been considered the habitat of the theatrical avant-garde, far removed from traditional proscenium theaters that place the action in a distant, elaborate picture frame. In a black-box theater, it’s easy to create intimacy: just move the audience closer to the action, or even invite them to wander through it. Light and sound grids running across the ceiling make it possible to stage action anywhere in the room, especially in productions with an all-monkey cast.
Letting the Imagination Do the Work
The black box doesn’t necessarily have to be black. In fact, one of the most poetic statements of the space’s particular power may come from a man best known for his work in a white box: Peter Brooks, who staged a legendary circus-inspired 1970 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in an all-white space. Reminiscing in the Guardian in 2013, he wrote: “The invisible, the forest, even the darkness of night were evoked by the imagination in the nothingness that had no statement to make and needed no illustration.”