When people come to the theater they are expecting a powerful roller coaster of emotions, whether it be to laugh or cry. You need to create the right atmosphere and mood to perfectly position the audience for a truly mesmerizing show.
Creating atmosphere in any sized theater can be a complex task. Every aspect of the performance must be considered such as the stage lighting and sound to set the right tone and ambiance for the audience.
Yes acting is key but brilliant acting set against tired drapes and curtains, in a poorly lit room, with poor sound output is not going to make for a memorable show. It is a combination of all of these things that will make the show special.
Some tips on how to create this atmosphere include:
1. Stage lighting. This is very important because lighting can create many different impressions. It is practical in the sense that it can convey the time of the day to the audience who are watching a play. I.e. lighter colors for the sunrise or darker tones for dusk. It can also be highly symbolic. Colored lighting is very popular as it can instantly change the mood of a scene on stage.
2. Staging systems, such as sound systems, are also important. Having a good technical base to control the types of sounds the audience hear is very effective in creating mood. For example, setting up speakers around the room can mean that different sounds are played out around the theater to engulf the audience in the performance.
3. The set. The set can be a complex task because it is very difficult to keep changing the background of the set to convey the type of scene. However, props or small items can be brought onto stage to help with this.
4. The acting is obviously a key part to the performance and is a major influencing factor to how enjoyable and how atmospheric the play can be. One director says, “The acting is crucial but it is also everything that happens around that acting which can tie everything together. It is about the whole theater not just what is happening on stage.”
5. Finally, to create atmosphere it is vital that there are experienced staff backstage who can help bring everything together by working efficiently and professionally backstage. Having relevant technicians on hand is important as any technical hitches can be dealt with quickly and with minimal fuss. The smooth running of the production will always show in a performance from the moment the audience member walks into the theater to the moment that they leave.