“Theatres of the era of Relativity: a new modern history”

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Paul Johnson wrote in Modern Times that this era began the 29th May of 1919, when the solar eclipse photographs taken in Africa and Brazil, confirmed a new world reality that Albert Einstein had described in his General Theory of Relativity. The observation of the curved route of a beam of light showed that the tridimensional static Newtonian space – an infinite box – is a living flexible entity. That everything is in eternal ‘motion’. Manuscripts and original drawings of the ‘Endless Theatre’ designed by Frederick Kiesler and, of the ‘Total Theatre’ conceived by Walter Gropius, which remain in the libraries of Harvard University, brought me light to a never told history. Both authors claimed that if the reality in which man was cohabiting had changed radically, the artistic reality should change radically too.

My lecture then focuses into a new history of modern theatre architecture that started when the Italian scenic device undergoes a sort of ‘explosion’ to reflect the Einsteinian vision of the Universe. Especially during the 1920s, architects and scenographers extravagantly reinvented the front articulation between the ‘scene’ within the boîte noire and the ‘auditorium’. A study of the theatres mentioned above, presented in 1926, show how these two elements became versatile pieces, which even during the play could be in motion, transformed at the director’s will. Opening new fields of action for actors and their relationship with moving spectators. This phenomenon, known as ‘multiple-theatres’ , is presented in this lecture as the ‘Theatres of the era of Relativity’.
Period16 Mar 2018
Event titleMid-America Theatre Conference
Event typeConference
Conference number39th Annual
LocationMilwaukee, United States, WisconsinShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • science
  • architecture
  • Cosmos
  • Bauhaus
  • Total Theater
  • spacetime
  • relativity
  • theater