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French neoclassic theatre was heavily influenced by Italian neoclassic theatre Early Paris theaters such as the Theatre du Marais where converted tennis courts In 1641 the Italian influence showed its first signs theater architecture when Cardinal Richelieu erected the Palais Cardinal the first proscenium arch stage in France Soon after all the theaters in Paris where converted to proscenium arch stages The French did add a twist to Italian proscenium set up by adding and undivided gallery along the back wall opposite the stage with bleacher like seating The other difference was the addition of special seating on stage for the French aristocracy The scenery in French Neoclassic theatre was even more influenced by the Italians So taken where the French with Italian scenic effects that influential Italian designer such as Giacomo Torelli and Gaspare Vigarani where brought in to design and install scenery Most French theatre employed Torellis pole and chariot system for scene shifting and for more elaborate seating such a device to fly the royal box in on stage at the Salle des Machines In the field of dramaturgy the French critics at the academy held plays strictly to the neoclassical rules set forth by the Italian critics The French critics felt that the well-made play should adhere to the neoclassical rules of the 3 unities of time place and action as well as the rules of decorum verisimilitude and genre If a playwright did not comply with neoclassical ideal their plays could be shut down The biggest challenge to the rules came in 1637 with Pierre Corneille play Le Cid the play was criticized for breaking the rules of time and decorum So stung was Corneille by the criticism that he stopped writing dramas until 1640 Neoclassical French costumes where influenced by the rule of Verisimilitude which state that all action should be presented in a realistic fashion During this time acting troupes would provide their own costumes which
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