Theater in the Round

Core 1, Professor Oana Stanescu, MIT

Studio Coordinator William O’Brien Jr.

This project began with a poetic prompt to create a theater in the round and a theater in the ground, and this proposal satisfies both of those conditions with two theaters—both in the round and in the ground. Each theater uses the “round” to create two separate worlds, providing spaces separate and distinct from the exterior context to encourage experimentation and escape within. Both use the centrality of two theater in the round typologies, the larger arena and the more intimate Shakespearean-style theater, to reinforce the distance between the center of each stage (the core of the building) from the outside world. Programs layer three-dimensionally outward, layering back of house and lobby spaces so that these might provide natural buffers and transition spaces between the performance and daily life. Booleaned spaces provide entrances, or brief breaches between worlds. The two theaters also just barely kiss, suggesting finally the distinctness of each in relation to the other, and the fantastic possibilities of hosting two shows so close to one another but also, in content, entirely distinct. The theaters promote the playful possibilities of fictions, mimicking the new worlds that can be created in stories.