The Psychodrama Stage
Posted March 24, 2008 (by Adam Blatner).
From: Enneis, James (Jim). (1952). Establishing a Psychodrama Program. Group Psychotherapy 5
(2), 111-119. (Writing about building the Stage at St. Elizabeths
Hospital), but referring also to the stage it was modeled from at
Moreno’s Sanitarium in Beacon, New York): Selections:
Theatre Selection and Stage Construction
The Psychodrama Theatre should be centrally located for the
patients it is to serve. A room 48 feet by 48 feet, with a ceiling, at
least 13 feet high, will be adequate for most needs (Figure 1). (If
there is a lower ceiling it will necessitate reducing the rises of the
various levels of the stage. This results in a second level which
cannot be used comfortably for interviews. A low ceiling also prevents
the use of small tables or chairs as a substitute balcony when moving
into power roles.)
The room's construction should be such that it can be blacked out.
Otherwise, the stage lighting may not be effectively used. Rest room
and drinking fountain facilities should be easily accessible.
| Figure 1.
The stage should be sturdily constructed. In order to prevent a drum
effect when people walk upon it, sub-flooring should go all the way
across on each level. This is especially necessary when sessions are
being recorded as the sound of heels will overpower voices.
The screens (at St. Elizabeths, not at the original Moreno stage) shown
in Figures 2 and 3 may be made of plywood or ceiling, and should be
stained to match the natural finish of the hardwood flooring used.
| Figure 2
| Figure 3
Lightining (Figure 4) should be wired so that separate switches
control stage and house lights. Stage lights should be on a four-color
circuit with dimmer controls. There should be a master switch
controlling all stage lights as well as switches for the individual
color circuits. Baby spots, or light borders may be used.
'Light borders are preferable in that they give more diffuse light for
the entire stage area. You may use a single border, or two borders, one
over the front of the stage, and one in the center, rear. Borders
should be tilted so that the shadow line falls in front of the
audience's chairs. Suitable borders may be ordered, ready wired, from
most large theatrical supply houses. Usually, a 75-100 watt border
light, constructed of 2-gauge sheet metal, and wired with number 12
asbestos wire, will be satisfactory. Receptacles should be one piece
porcelain, or aluminum type with medium screw base sockets, spaced on
8" centers. Roundels in white, amber, red, blue, and green should be
purchased with appropriate retaining rings. The amber roundels are used
in the white circuit (See Figure 4) 100 watt bulbs will give a
satisfactory intensity of light as wired in the diagram.
For dimmer controls we find "Superior Variable Voltage Control" most
satisfactory. These dimmers work by throwing the voltage back in the
line, and do not heat up or hum. They do not squeak nor require
graphite applications. These are available through most large radio
supply houses. The size needed for these lights has an output of 135
volts and 7.5 amps, and 1.0 KVA. A double outlet should be available
near the light controls so that recording or other equipment may be
Stage Furniture and Seating
Stage furniture should be of neutral design and as light as is
consistent with practicability and sturdiness. Inexpensive rush
furniture is quite satisfactory. (Nowadays, we have access to cheap
plastic-mold chairs–AB, 2008.)
There should be two arm chairs, two small end tables,, and a larger
table of standard height (approximately 28" x 28") a chaise lounge and
four straight chairs.
The types of chairs used in the Theatre for the audience is dependent
upon the kinds of groups with which you expect to work. In psychiatric
hospitals, if you carry a full program you will find a number of untidy
patients who can be worked with quite satisfactorily. The chairs,
therefore, should be easy to clean. We have found that metal folding
chairs without upholstering are most satisfactory. These are easily
moved to satisfy requirements of all members of the group.