The 17th century machine play was the Avatar of its day. Some people actually feared that there was magic involved in creating the spectacular special effects. Indeed, the Italian designers who were so skilled in these arts were called Keepers of the Secrets and Magicians.
I recently discovered a wonderful website on the History of Theatre. Here are three posts that demonstrate in mini-videos what these effects must have looked like:
Sabbattini’s Cloud Flying Machine
Scene Changes: Take your time with this one. It’s well worth it.
Imagine the excitement of the sea effects for this production: