Definitions

Vomitorium

Vomitorium

[vom-i-tawr-ee-uhm, -tohr-]
A vomitorium (plural: vomitoria) is a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheatre, through which crowds can "spew out" at the end of a performance.

Despite their association with Ancient Rome, vomitoria are still found in some theatres. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, for instance, has vomitoria in two of its theatres, the outdoor Elizabethan Stage and the Angus Bowmer Theatre. The voms, as they are called, allow actors to mount the stage from halls cut into the amphitheatre. The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota has two permanent voms, one at stage left and one at stage right, of its thrust stage. The Circle in the Square Theatre, designed to reflect the theatres of ancient Greece and Rome, is the only Broadway theatre that has a vomitorium. The Vomitorium is still used in many of their productions as an entrance and exit for the actors.

A commonly held, but false, belief is that Ancient Romans designated spaces called vomitoria for the purpose of actual vomiting, as part of a binge and purge cycle.

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