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How were sound, lightning, and other theatrical effects achieved in Elizabethan theater?

Thunder was probably made by rolling cannon balls or shaking metal sheets in the "Heavens" room above the stage. Lightning was made by coating wires with gunpowder and lighting it. Cannons could be fired without shot, though this caused the destruction of the Globe in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII when burning material from a cannon set fire to the theater roof. Trumpets and other musical instruments could be played on the balconies nearest the stage. Cranes could lower gods or fairies from the Heavens to the stage. The outdoor theater stages were about three feet high, allowing for an area beneath the stage from which witches could rise and bodies could be lowered into graves.


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