When my mother came to me one day and said, “Stace, we are going to see the Nutcracker at the Wang Center,” an immediate rush of excitement shot through me. There is some sort of feeling that theater evokes. Theater, by definition, is a building, room, or outdoor structure for the presentation of plays, films, or other dramatic performances; A room with tiers of seats used for lectures or demonstrations; Dramatic literature or its performance; drama; The milieu of actors and playwrights; Dramatic material or the use of such material; The audience assembled for a dramatic performance; A place that is the setting for dramatic events. Well sure, those definitions mean something, but I do not think it is possible for one to understand theater until they appreciate a theatrical experience.
Theater is more than a place, more than an event, and more than a show. Theater is an experience. The setting, the architecture, the actors, the script, the costumes, the lights, the colors, the audience… the list goes on of important features that contribute to the experience of theater. The excitement that I felt about going to see the Nutcracker was brought on by a mixture of thoughts. Yes, I was looking forward to the actual story line, but more importantly I recalled past theatrical experiences. Seeing Dracula, A Christmas Carol, the Wizard of Oz, and Jesus Christ Superstar at theaters like the Wang Center, the Company Theater, and Radio City Music Hall, and my participation in productions like Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol, and The Fight Before Christmas. I felt so excited to go see the Nutcracker because I looked forward to the phenomenology of it all.
Experiencing theater is like taking a step out of ordinary life. A theatrical production tells a story in only a few hours, a story could take years to experience if it were real life. When participating as the audience, people find themselves experiencing suspension of disbelief. This is when no matter how unrealistic an event may seem it is believable. Also, when people go see a production they tend to dress up more so than they would for their typical life experiences. This is part of what comes from theater being a step out of ordinary life, a special event. Theater makes people feel special. They feel special to be there, experiencing the lights, the story, the colors, and the richness of the space. Being in the audience one is brought almost into the script of the story, as their imaginations let loose and they relate to the characters. Its amazing the different emotions and mind-sets theater can evoke.
The rich colors used often in theater interiors, like deeps reds, bright gold, and warm purples play a large roll in the essence of the space. Warm bright colors such as those, higher blood pressure and bring physical excitement and stimulation to the surrounding people. Also colors of such are mentally associated with richness and importance. Reds and gold are the colors of royalty. Also contributing to the sense of importance felt to those experiencing theater is the architecture of space. Theaters are often set up with a hierarchy of seats. The multilevels and variance in sections can also play a roll in the way one feels. For example, those sitting in special box seats that have the structure and décor of royal luxury are made to feel very important and special. There are so many physical aspects of theater with abstract purposes of such great importance. All of which come together and create place.
When I go to a theatre to see a production I dress up, I get excited, I pause sometimes to take in the intricate décor of the theater, I cry, I laugh, I smile, I gasp, I feel alive! I find this all together very ironic since theater is in many ways opposite real life. It’s amazing how many emotions are brought on by theater.
When I design my restaurant it will metaphorically relate to theater. I want customers in my restaurant to feel the emotions they feel when they are inside of a theater. I want the customers to feel the excitement, I want them to feel special, and feel important. I want them to be able to take in all the scenery and to react to everything that is going on in the atmosphere. I want there to be a distinct sense of place. I want my restaurant to be like a step out of ordinary life. A very special place indeed.
I have been brainstorming ideas on how to create a place of such character. I think that lighting is very important. I want to maybe have the floor of the tables at slightly different levels and outlined withlights so there is almost a floaty effect. Like a surreal setting. Also I want very rich furnishings and colors. Deep blues and reds and colors of excitement. I want the restaurant to be a high class place, where one feels significant just to be dining at. Also I want those dining to feel as though they are a part of the place in a way that an audience gets involved, not physically but emotionally. I want dinning at my restaurant to be an experience. I was thinking that the tables should be laid out in a way that offers a good view of the restaurant all around. I do not want one person to just be staring at a wall. I think that the diners should be able to see many views from where they are seated. It will not be a place where the customers come to interact with eachother, but more of a place where they come to eat a great meal, enjoy the surreal setting, and feel as though they are getting a break from the stress of every day life.