Pillole di Passione
di Paola Giunti
One of the largest in Europe, the stage of the Teatro Regio di Torino is a complex structure built on the Latin cross plan. Dominated by the imposing fly tower, it is made up of the main stage, with its six lifts, two side scene docks and the area behind.
The central or "action" stage is the only part of the stage that is visible to the audience. It has both fixed and mobile parts, capable of recreating the most varied types of staging. There is no doubt that it represents the true heart of the theatre, at least for the audiences, who see dramas, passions and comedies consumed there. The command post, however, is located far from the eyes of onlookers: on the second bridge of the fly tower, at a height of 7 metres!
The fly tower dominates the central stage from its 32 metres of height. With its remarkable containment and load capacity, it can hold numerous pieces of machinery and backdrops, as well as wings and lights, which, thanks to the many fly bars, can be raised and hidden from the audience’s view.
The side stages are two areas positioned symmetrically to the right and left of the central stage where sets and props are kept, allowing precious time to be saved during scene changes. They are equipped with modular slip stages that are utilised during every scene change: an operation that must be fast, organised and totally silent. Singers, stagehands, prop men and wardrobe staff run back and forth frantically in the semi-darkness. Overseeing everything, the watchful eye and able direction of the stage manager.
The back slip stage is a sort of platform of large dimensions which permits rapid scene changes. To its left, instead, we find the set lift: a real elevator for sets. Thanks to these two enormous machines and other stage machinery, it is possible to build the most complex sets and realise the most daring scene changes.
Next to the set lift is the store-room for tools and implements used by the stage technicians. Between the main stage and the back slip stage, there is another safety curtain, which isolates acoustically the two zones, allowing at the same time a rehearsal on the slip stage and staging work on the main stage (or vice versa).
The sound laboratory is the technological heart that makes it possible to broadcast the audio of a performance in progress to the technical areas and foyer (for the benefit of late-comers). On particular occasions, specific audio effects are realised here.
Inside this room – situated on the right side of the stage and elevated 3.5 metres from the floor – we find an excellent sound system made up of various professional mixers, different types of recorders, as well as computerised systems for audio/video elaboration and digital equalisation. In addition, there are three service communication systems: wired system, via radio e via two-way radios, allowing the technicians to communicate with each other from different locations.
In addition, the sound laboratory is responsible for the closed circuit television system with fixed cameras (one in the auditorium to film the stage and another in the orchestra pit to film the conductor) that transmits the images also to the foyer.