21 August 2018

The Theater is Born

The construction of pavilions, the programming of Audio-Animatronics figures, and the development of story throughout Walt Disney World, and the larger global network of resorts and parks, has always fascinated me. This could explain why I jumped at the chance to acquire a cache of construction photos from inside of Spaceship Earth recently. From the collection there were several photos that stood out to me, including this one of the Greek play being assembled.

What I love is how some of the figures are set, maybe they’re stage ready and maybe they’re not, but they look good, meanwhile the set itself and a third figure are definitely not ready for their close-up. Once completed, this scene would depict one of the earliest forms of the theater. I’ve never found a better description of this scene than that from Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center by Richard R. Beard:
“The Greeks with their vowels were able to enunciate their written word; they also elevated what has become the fine art of communication into the rarefied stratum of speculative thought, philosophy, with all of its passion for logic and symmetry. Indeed, so smitten were they with the word that they gave birth to a dramatic form of communication that endures to this day; thus, the Greek tableau spotlights a small theater where a trio of Hellenic actors perform a scene from Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, a popular play of their time – and of ours. But here, in ancient Greece, the powerful words are declaimed in the very language of Sophocles and in the style of his day.”

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