machine play



  • A type of dramatic spectacle in 17th-century France that dependedon new scene-changing equipment and other mechanical devices. Corneillepioneered the genre with his Andromède, staged in 1650at Molière's Théâtre du Petit-Bourbon. It waswritten in order to make full use of the elaborate Italian stage machineryintroduced to France by Giacomo Torelli, the stage designer knownas the Great Magician. His innovations included a revolvingstage and the carriage-and-frame system for changing scenery.The machine play peaked with Molière's Amphitryon (1668)and Psyché (1671). Torelli's inventions were also embracedby Jean-Baptiste Lully, the founder of French opera.