Friday, December 9, 2016
Any theatre would have a designated location for the control booth - the space for technicians controlling the stage lights and sounds to sit and do their work while the performance is in progress. The ideal location for this is, in some ways, the place where the best seats in the house should be; far enough away from the stage to have a full view of what is happening on it, but close enough to not miss out any of the details.
Chennai's theatres have different approaches to placing the control booth. Many of them - at least among the ones I have seen - have them right up front, just at the edge of the stage. The Museum Theatre has it jammed in the centre aisle, crushing into the seats nearby. Obviously, given the age of that building, it is a much later addition and it gives a definite appearance of having been jerry-rigged, as if it has been placed there just for this performance and no more.
The control booth at the Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Hall is much better organized. I don't recall seeing this space when I have been on the ground floor - and so I guess it blends well with the seating. But when looking down on the balcony, it looks like a fairly comfortable area to sit and work - and the best spot to watch the performance from!