Town Hall Photo…The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum has boxes of photos from the old Canadian basement that Jennifer Fenwick Irwin rescued. This is another one of the old treasured photos from times gone by.
The other day I was up on the stage gazing at the beautiful auditorium and I felt like all I needed to do was sit on the floor and I could slide to the end it. The floor is so slanted you feel like you are walking a 35 degree angle (someone said more like a 3.5).
I immediately thought the floor must have sunk and it needed massive repairs. Well, I was wrong. That floor is heritage designated along with the building because that is how they used to build stage floors. It is one of the few remaining raked stages in Canada, fine examples of woodwork in pine and ash, decorative pressed metal ceilings and mosaic encaustic flooring.
English theatre stages in the Middle Ages and early Modern era typically sloped upwards away from the audience. This is known as a rake or raked stage and improves the view for the audience. Raked stages can still be seen in many opera productions, where a temporary raked acting surface is built over a theatre’s permanent flat stage. Creating a raked stage can also assist set designs requiring forced perspective.
On a raked stage an actor who is farther from the audience is higher than an actor who is closer to the audience. This led to the theatre positions “upstage” and “downstage,” meaning, respectively, farther from or closer to the audience.
The term:”upstaging” refers to one actor moving to a more elevated position on the rake [stage], causing the upstaged actor (who stays more downstage-closer to the audience) to turn his back from the audience to address the cast member. The term “upstaging” also has since taken on the figurative meaning of an actor unscrupulously drawing the audience’s attention away from another actor.- Wikipedia
All the world is a stage but we are so fortunate to have a piece of rare theatrical history in our town.