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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 170 (148)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 170
Page 170

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 170

THE DRESSING ROOM of the Plexiglas Theatre achieves functional beauty. Radiant walls illuminate the room through designs etched in light. Drawers are lined with Plexiglas to prevent snags, and hassock and fixtures of the same plastic emulate the beauty of crystal without its weight and chill to the touch. The wash basin is of opaque Plexiglas, as is the toilet, walled off for privacy by Plexiglas prisms which admit light but not vision.

From the lobby to the stage and on to the dressing rooms beyond, the hypothetical Plexiglas Theatre profits by the innovations made possible by this versatile plastic.


Entering the lobby, one notices that its subdued lighting comes not from shaded fixtures, but from designs which glow mysteriously out of the walls themselves. The stairway sweeps upward, outlined by an out-curving Plexiglas panel whose curled edge forms a gleaming hand rail. Both panel and rail are accentuated by delicate designs etched in light, and a strip at the ham casts a soft, definite glow on the stairs themselves, from a concealed light source.

Wash Rooms

In the washrooms, Plexiglas adds new beauty to the utilitarian. Wash basins, far lighter in weight than the porcelain variety, may be fashioned in delicate pastel colors if preferred. Toilets have smoothly functional lines which conceal plumbing and permit easy cleaning. Faucet handles, strong and crystal clear, can be streamlined for pleasing design and, of course, eliminate metal-polishing.

Transparent Plexiglas towel-cabinets make the towel supply visible at all times, the rounded contours of such cabinets doing away with objectionable sharp corners.

Even when opaque shades are preferred, Plexiglas cabinets are still superior because of the flexibility of design which the properties of this material make possible.

Light, shadowless and efficient without being over-bright at any one spot, emerges from the entire wall surface through engraved designs in its Plexiglas facing.


In the auditorium, "crystal" chandeliers Hash sparkling beauty from overhead-but being made of Plexiglas, are


much lighter in weight than ordinary chandeliers.

Seats are fashioned of the same material in darker color, curved for maximum comfort, with the arm-rests pleasingly warm to the touch.

Under-seat hat racks, also of Plexiglas, are strong and rustproof.

At the exit doors, edge-lighted signs with the letters etched on panels of red Plexiglas are easily seen but not distracting. An inconspicuous clock with edge-lighted hands and figures is a convenience appreciated by the commuter.

Dressing Rooms

Actorsi dressing rooms incorporate many of the features already enumerated; Plexiglas chairs have charm without chill; a ttlazy-Susanii rack of plastic keeps hats, wigs, etc., within quick reach -and costumes are hung on Plexiglas hangers shaped to protect against distorted shoulders and slipping straps.

On the Stage

In the Plexiglas Theatre too, of course, (The plays the thing"; but it goes without saying that the way in which a play *and more particularly a revue or extravaganzae is staged can do a lot to tip the scales toward success. Modern use of plastics in furniture, fixtures, and murals tipainted in light,, can give an air of indescribable elegance and beauty, and permit novel effects obtainable by no other means.

Picture a revue or a ballet staged against a background of decorative motifs which can be changed during the action without dropping the curtain or moving any component parts of the set. An undersea design, perhaps, glows in blue-green light; the action progressese the undersea motif fades and a cave appears, with sparkling stalactites and jagged rocks silhouetted against a damecolored hint of fiery recesses; then a forest of green branches, brown trunks and huge, yellow toadstools; and so on, according to the demands of the piece and the imaginative invention of the stagedesigner.


"Murals in Light"

Such striking and effective results are made possible by utilizing the "lightpiping" property of Plexiglas. This fascinating ability to transmit light Without disseminating it means that light entering one edge of a Plexiglas surfacee from a concealed source, if desired can be carried around corners and over curves, being emitted only when it reaches an interruption in the normally smooth surface. A property which is used, among other applications, in certain surgical instruments, its chief interest to the theatrical designer is in the Hmural etched in light." Sheets of Plexiglas, either clear or in varying colors, are separately engraved, each sheet with its own design or element of the overall scheme, and the sheets superimposed upon each other. Then by means of switching on and off a light source at the edge of each component sheet, the background will glow with a succession of designs or scenes*or the lighting of all sheets at once can produce a multicolored, three-dimensional mural.


By choosing varying basic shapes of the plastic material, as well as in the carving, painting or sanding processes employed, an endless variety of effects may be obtained. Rows of prisms make a sparkling crystal-like wall which reflects light but does not permit vision. Clear sheets may be substituted for glass in windows, mirrors, etc., to avoid danger of breakage.

Aside from its outstanding decorative possibilities, Plexiglas provides an ideal material for stage design because of the great ease with which it can be formed and worked. Most other basic structural materials require heavy machinery for their fabrication, and special design means prohibitively expensive hand tooling and machining; Plexiglas, by contrast, can easily be sawed, drilled, carved or threaded. Pieces may be joined by simple cementing processes to form strong units in which the seam is practically invisible. Plexiglas softens when heated to a little above the temperature of boiling water, and in this state it can be bent, curved, or fashioned into any desired shape e a fact which has been found valuable by the many home craftsmen who are turning out their own intriguing products with the aid of the kitchen oven and a few inexpensive tools.

This ease of fabrication becomes a boon to the imaginative stage designer, who can now readily achieve effects which were formerly impracticable. Plexiglas does not lose its strength, clarity or other properties on repeated working; this means that existing shapes in Plexiglas can be changed by ire-heating the materialean important factor in economy, especially in theatres where a weekly change of stage revues means frequent replacement of stage settings.


All in all, theatrical architects and designers are finding Plexiglas a most useful material for a steadily increasing and seemingly endless variety of purposes.

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 170