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A revolving stage is a mechanically controlled platform within

a theatre that can be rotated in order to speed up the changing of a


scene within a show. A fully revolving set was an innovation
constructed by the hydraulics engineer Tommaso Francini for an
elaborately produced pageant, Le ballet de la dlivrance de Renaud,
which was presented for Marie de Medici in January 1617 at the
Palais du Louvre and noted with admiration by contemporaries.

Kabuki Theatre Development


The first major use of revolving stages began in Japan
during Kabuki performances. In the 1750s, Namiki Shz, previously
just known for his work as a theatrical dramatist in Japan,
introduced a stage design know as a mawari butai. The literal
English translation is revolving stage; however, the denotation is
quite different from the modern understanding of the word.
Initially, the stages were wheeled circular platforms that were
fixed on a stage and turned manually. A wall running through the
diameter of the circle allowed a quick reveal of other Kabuki
performers and chanters. Although the platform did indeed revolve,
the problems of visual scenic changers still hindered the spectacle.
Through trial and error methods involving the issues still at hand in

the Kabuki theatre, the platform eventually became flush with the
immobile sections of the stage. This in-turn placed the mechanism
below the stage and hid the manual labor. After this downward shift,
the manual technology only increased. One circle, in the 1820s in
Japan, was placed inside another circle and was used for various
transitions. Some special effects included one boat passing another
by the two rings turning against each other. This was just an
example of many tricks that the Kabuki theatre developed. Revolving
stages were a huge step towards the stylized form Kabuki theatre is
known for today. They made it possible to implore supernatural
transformations and come up with creative entrances and exits.
Modern Kabuki theatre companies still employ a rotating stage but in
a much smaller capacity. For the most part, the wall on the circle is
flush with the wall behind the chanters, and a rotation is used to
allow new head chanters to be revealed seamlessly.

Early Western Development


The very first revolving stage in the western world was built by Karl
Lautenschlger (18431906) in 1896 in Munich, Germany.
Lautenschlger studied under Carl Brandt at the court theatre in
Darmstadt from there he went to Munich, where he worked for 22
years and became the head machinist at the Royal theatre. He is
known for his revolving stage, sometimes called the Lautenschlger
stage, which later acquired the legacy of being called the
new Shakespeare stage. The stage was installed at the Residenz
Theatre for a performance of Don Giovanni, an opera byWolfgang
Mozart. The revolve at the Residenz Theatre was fifty feet in
diameter and was raised slightly off of the regular stage floor. With
the proscenium a little less than a fourth of the revolve was visible
to the audience. Lautenschlger used electricity to power the
turntable, with the table turning on rollers, which run on a circular
track. This particular revolve was split into quarter sections and
allowed four scenes to be set at the top of the show. The rotating
stage allowed for depth, like landscapes with views in the distance
and more three-dimensional set in front of the walls of the revolve.

For theatres like the Dresden, that did not have an underside to
their stage, each sector of the revolve would have wo wheels
operating directly on the stage floor and propelled by a small motor
fixed to the underside of the turntable. Some revolves had only two
separate sections while some had as many as seven. Not all sections
had to be split into equal proportions. Sections could be very shallow
or very deep according to what the scene required. Rectangle
sections were even used many times for indoor scenes. Some
revolves had sections that connected to each other to give the
appearance of travel and help give the set perspective. Eventually
traps, elevators and rotating stages combined in some theatres. The
individual sections of the turntable could be lowered and raised to
and from the underneath the stage to make scene changes even
more efficient.
In 1889 the Munich court theatre hired Lautenschlger to design a
stage that was more efficient for Shakespeare productions. His
rotating stage seemed to be the perfect solution to Shakespeare.
Other theatres and other companies performing Shakespeare
quickly began to use the rotating stage and it started to become
known as the new Shakespeare stage. This was probably the biggest
role for the rotating stage in its history.

Pros of Early Western Designs


1. As a designer lays out the taverns, houses, and cobblestone
streets to have sectioned off on the circular set, he could
imagine an actor walking from one location to the next as a
part of the scene. Some directors even employed the rotation
of the stage with a purposeful view from the audience allowing
them to see the characters walk from one setting to the next.
2. The sectioned design created interesting wall structures to
build usually costly sets on. The structure provided for much
more interesting scenic designs, especially when concerning
the outdoor hills and mountains. The angled frames of the

stage dividers were often used to support interesting tree


structures or tall rolling hills.
3. Time was the biggest problem solved by the revolving stage.
There was a particular problem with Shakespearean plays that
required so many changes of scenery that some runs were as
long as one could imagine a 20-act play would be. The scene
changes were a fraction of the length before. It only took the
time to rotate a 1/4 or even a 1/6 way around the circular
stage.

Cons of Early Western Design


1. Angled walls often provided a problem. It was impossible, as a
scenic designer, to incorporate a horizon of anything on stage
because there was no such back wall to support the
perspective of it.
2. The height of certain sets in certain sections proved to be an
issue as well. When large buildings or tall constructions of the
inside of a house were built in one section, they generally
exceeded the length of the framing walls. When the stage
spun, the audience could then see the buildings in other
scenes. This would offset other places such as the inside of a
house or a wide-open field.
3. The vibrations from the early designs of the mechanical
revolving stage were off-putting in an auditorium.

Present-Day Use
Today rotating stages are still in use. ''Les Misrables'' is probably
one of the most notable modern uses of a rotating stage. It was
recorded to have made sixty-three rotations each performance
during its original run in London. It is common practice to reverse
the rotation of a rotating stage as frequently as possible to prevent
cables from becoming twisted, and eventually breaking.

Moment of Inertia: Thin Disk


The moment of inertia of a thin circular disk is the same as that for a solid
cylinderof any length, but it deserves special consideration because it is often used
as an element for building up the moment of inertia expression for other
geometries, such as the sphere or the cylinder about an end diameter. The moment
of inertia about a diameter is the classic example of the perpendicular axis
theorem For a planar object:

Angular momentum is the product of an object's moment of inertia (its rotational mass) and its
angular velocity. Angular momentum is a vector quantity represented by the variable, L.

L = I

The units for angular momentum are: (kg m2)(radians/sec) = kg m2/sec. Note that although the
angular velocity must be expressed in radians/sec, the term radian is dropped when expressing the
units for its angular momentum. Remember that = 2f. This expression was first introduced when
we studied the sinusoidal equations forSHM.

The vector nature of L is determined by the right hand rule (RHR). When your fingers curl in the
direction of the object's angular velocity, your thumb points in the direction of the object's angular
momentum. Examining the rotating masses illustrated in the diagrams below, the sphere, disk and
cylinder have angular velocities producing angular momentum vectors pointing along the positive yaxis. The angular velocity of the thin ring results in its angular momentum pointing along the positive
x-axis.

solid spheres

solid disks and cylinders

thin rings and hoops

I = 2/5 mr2

I = 1/2 mr2

I = mr2

Point Masses

Often we are required to determine the angular momentum of a point mass. A few examples of point
masses would be: (1) a speck of dust on a spinning CD's surface; (2) a stopper moving in a circle at
the end of a string; (3) a planet or asteroid moving in circular orbit about the sun. As you can see, a
point mass comes in many sizes. The term applies to the fact that all of an object's mass is
constrained to a small radius in comparison to the radius of its circular motion or from the pivot point
of the system. That is, it can easily be represented by a single concentration of mass at the object's
center of mass.

The moment of inertia for a point mass traveling in a circle is I = mr2 and the instantaneous tangential
velocity of a point mass, v, equals r. This relationship between angular and linear velocities can be
understood by imagining a rotating platform.

All points on the platform share the same angular velocity (they all pass through the same angular
displacement in a stated interval of time), but each one has a unique linear, or tangential, velocity
based on how far it is located from the axis of rotation - that is, how large a circumference it must
travel through during each revolution. For the three horse figurines shown above, the figurine closest
to the central axis would have the least tangential velocity since the fraction of its circumference that it
travels during the 1/6th cycle shown is the shortest.

We will now derive an alternative expression for the moment of inertia of a point mass.

L = I where I = mr2 and = v/r.


NOTE: r in these equations represents the radial distance from the axis of rotation to the center of
mass of the point mass. It does NOT represent the radius of the point mass. Remember, as discussed
earlier in this lesson, that a point mass, by definition, is an object whose "internal radius" is very, very
small in comparision with the radius of the circle through which it is moving.

L = (mr2)(v/r)
Lpoint mass = mvr

NOTE: this expression is the cross product of the object's radial distance, r, and its linear
momentum, mv, L = r mv. That is, the angular momentum of a point mass equals the product of the
magnitude of its moment arm - the perpendicular distance from the line of action of the momentum
(instantaneous velocity vector) to the central pivot or axis of rotation - times the magnitude of its linear
momentum.