Accommodating the Lively Arts : An Architect's View
by Martin Bloom

"It is one of the theatre's greatest ironies," playwright and critic Charles Marowitz says in introducing Bloom's fine book, "that those who design its stages and auditoria . . . are very often baboons when it comes to creating a space in which actors and audience can happily cohabit."

Architect Bloom hopes to rectify that sad state of affairs by focusing on all aspects of theater design: types of stages, ways of arranging the audience, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. He also provides, with plenty of accompanying illustrations, an interesting history of performance spaces from the theater's earliest times, when a smooth, flat surface was enough, to the magnificent palaces built in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries.

Written in a spare, dry style clearly not appealing to just any reader, Bloom's effort is yet, for anyone interested in theater design or who is planning to renovate or build an auditorium, a vital source of information.

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