Vivid Patterns of Theatrical Curtains

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Published: 26th June 2015
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Can you ever imagine a theater without a curtain? Curtain is the backbone of any theatre. It plays an important role. From the beginning till end, it is curtain who balances between the artists and spectators. While talking about a curtain, one thinks of a large piece of cloth but when we talk in terms of theater, the meaning of curtain is quite different. It is not just a piece of cloth but it is fully transformed technically. These are designed to mask backstage areas of a theatre from spectators.

Whole theater relies on stage curtains and drapes. Only a single type of curtain cannot fulfill requirement of theatres. There are different types of draperies which are used in it. Each of them has their specific purpose. It comes in many types. It can be made of black color or any dark color, light absorbing; light weighted or can be heavy weight velour.

A variety of curtains are used in Proscenium stage. In Arena and thrust stages less variety are used. In proscenium theatres, drapes are basically hung from a huge long metal pipe which is known as batten. Batten is suspended above the stage or audiences from which lightening fixtures, theatrical curtains and drapes may be hung. Battens are controlled by the theatrical rigging systems. It is also called fly system. In theater terminology, they said that drapes are flown. And when the drape is flown, the height of it is being adjusted to create a better masking effect.

There are many types of curtains used in theatre. Here we are describing few of them.

1- Grand Curtains: It is the front curtain also known as act curtain, house drape, house curtain, grand drape. It is being hung upstage just behind the proscenium arch. It goes up on the beginning of the act and scrolls down at the end of it. It also goes up and down in between the act to reveal or conceal the stage from the audience. It is important whether it is used as church stage curtain or school Stage Curtains. Grand drapes are of several types. It can be of single section or two sections. Depending on the type, these curtains move horizontally or vertically.

2- False Proscenium: False proscenium is created with the help of hard teasers and tormentors. These hard teasers and tormentors are horizontal and vertical pieces covered with thin ply. This thin ply is covered with dark colored, light absorbing material. This teaser and a pair of tormentor is flown each one side of the stage by a dedicated batten to reduce the size of the actual proscenium. In some productions, a show portal is used instead of false proscenium.

3- Legs, borders and tabs: Tall and narrow drapes used to mask the wings on either side of the stage are called legs. Borders are wide, short curtains used to hide lights and scenery hanging on a flying loft. To create a complete masking frame around the stage, basically two legs, each on one side and one border is used. The drapes that are hanged perpendicular to the proscenium at each side of the stage are called tabs.

4- Scrims: Scrims is made of an open weave fabric. It appears opaque when light comes from front and becomes transparent when a person or object behind the curtain is lit.

5- Backdrops: A stage backdrop is used to hang in the back of the stage to indicate scenery. Scenery can be change according to the act. Today backdrops are being replaced by the motion pictures.

6- Cycloramas: Cyc is the abbreviation of cyclorama. It is basically a concave white curtain used to indicate sky.

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