flying effect

Definition

Theater

  • The illusion of flight on the stage. The ancient Greek theaterintroduced the practice of lowering actors playing gods to the stageusing ropes or wires, as well as the impressive deus ex machina,which was operated by a form of crane. In Britain writers of the Restorationperiod often mention theatrical 'flyings', while the early 20th centuryeven produced Kirby's Flying Ballet. More recently, the stage versionof Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2004) featured a spectacular flyingcar.

    Perhaps the most famous flight on the British stage occursin J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan (1904). Scores of leading ladiesplaying Peter have swooped across the stage suspended by wires attachedto a special harness. When Gladys Cooper played Peter Pan,she squabbled with the stagehands; their revenge came during the performancewhen, instead of lowering her down gently into the Darlings' nursery,they bounced her off the walls "like a wrecking-ball on a buildingsite".

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