chapter  26
Restoration and Eighteenth-Century England
ByDavid Kornhaber
Pages 6

For early Restoration audiences, the scenographic effect of the wing-shutter-border arrangements was no less vivid for their indicative rather than illustrative qualities. With their system of masked wings and flies at the sides and top of the stage, Restoration theatres were able to create the illusion of flight using a series of cranes and rolling platforms, appearances from below using trap doors and elevators, the image of rolling ocean waves using movable flats, as well as rapid reveals and changes of locales using the wings, shutters, and borders. The general scenographic trend of the Restoration and early eighteenth-century stage was one of complacent visual repetition rather than innovative spectacle. The majority of set pieces were generic and recyclable, and the major London theatres each maintained a storehouse of reusable wings, shutters, and borders – an expanded scene room was added to the rebuilt Drury Lane in 1674 specifically for this purpose.