I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
Robert Fulgham, American Poet
No place does Fulgham’s quote show itself truer, than in the theatre. A juxtaposition and confluence of myth, reality, imagination, knowledge, dreams, facts, hope, experience, laughter, grief, love, and death exist in that sacred space called the stage.
The stage, however, is not the only space in which these things parallel, collide, and meld. The seats, and the people in those seats, set the tone as they participate in the willing suspension of disbelief – if only for a couple of hours.
The proscenium arch is the event horizon and the audience hurls toward it as they enter the auditorium and prepare to be transported. Every auditorium, or House, has its own personality. The Star Theatre at Eagles Point is no different. Many who enter the old Eaton High School remember childhood moments and those days that filled their youth. Others will experience the auditorium for the first time. All will experience the auditorium sculptures that grace the stage right and stage left doors. A space where visual art meets stage art and both grace the community.
In 1995, Dr. Edna C. Southard, who was at that time the Curator of Collections, Miami University Art Museum wrote:
The sculptures over the stage doors are plaster casts of original 500-year-old marble sculptures in Florence, Italy. They show the Trumpeters and the Drummers, the furthest left and right panels of Luca della Robbia’s Cantoria or Singing Gallery of 1432-38. These are now in the Musco dell’Opera del Duomo, the Cathedral Museum, of Florence. A total of ten panels were made originally for the Sacristy of the Cathedral opposite Donatello’s Cantatorio, also produced in the 1430s. The cast reliefs show the two most active scenes of the four top panels, illustrating Psalm 150 (“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…”). The trumpeters and drummers play while smaller children dance to the music. Luca frames each panel by turning the figures to enclose the picture. Using low relief for the figures in the background and very high relief, almost sculpture in the round, for the front figures, the artist composes a densely packed, but completely legible scene.
Without actually hearing the music, one can sense the energy the music creates. Through movement and design, using sinuous line and reflecting harmonious poses, Luca della Robbia creates an enduring visual image of the power of music. The original marble sculptures are important works in the history of art. Casts of them were sold on a large scale. The casts are slightly larger than the marble sculptures, which shows that they were made from the originals. (Southard, 1995)
Here in the Star Theatre, we strive to bring all forms of art to center-stage moments as we are graced by the trumpeters and drummers who silently play for us as the juxtaposition and confluence of Fulgham’s observations are born.
Lisa Marling, PhD, MFA