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SPFX of the Theatre

Europe M.A.
Europe/US early 1800's
Europe/US in the 1800's
Europe and the US in the Late 19th century

  Steele MacKaye (1842-1894) created a stage at Madison Square Theatre that woked on an elevator system. One stage above the other mounjted on elevators and operated on a counter weight system to lower the top stage to set on the bottom stage. This allowed for scene changes to happen in about 40 seconds. MacKaye also created realistic baffalo stampeeds and cyclones.
  Planche's The Vampier started the creation fof the Vampier trap which consisted of two spring leaves that could be placed in the stage floor or the scenery flats. When a person, animal or item is puhed through the trap, the spring mechanism allows the doors to be closed automatically. This simulated illusions such as actors sinking into the earth or being able to walk through solid objects.
  Around 1890 tredmills were installed to the floord of a stage to allow for a chariot race in which the horse ran on the electic powered tredmills. a rotating panorama scene was placed behind them to further ellaorate the effect. 


A drawing of an elavator stage. when the curtains close the top stage will be lowered in place of the bottom.


A poor pixelated drawing of one of many uses of trapdoors.


An example of chariot races onstage.

Are we done yet??

Brockett, Oscar G. History of the  Theatre. Needham Heights, Massachusettes. 1995