By "sound stage" I assume you mean the stage below the screen?
This really isn't necessary, a lot of people just like the way it looks. Makes it look a little more like a real movie theater.
The only practical purpose it serves is to raise the front speakers by a few inches. It the speakers being used aren't high enough to put the tweeters on axis with the listener's ears then the stage could help the theater sound a little better.
I agree with Kirk, with the added bonus that the stage (10 inches high) will (I just built it over the weekend) keep my 6 month old away from the monitor until she is old enough to learn not to touch!
My "stage" serves two purposes. One functional, the other artistic. My screen is so large, nearly 14 feet diagonal, that some light was reflected back into the screen from the light gray carpeting. The functional part of the stage is to absorb that light, as it is covered with both black and dark Gray carpet.
The artistic part is that I constructed the stage in a complete semi-circle. The carpet was then cut and laid by myself in the design of a huge film reel. The stage is 8 feet long and extends 4 feet wide, and is a mere five inches tall. The inner part of the "reel" where the film would be wound is illuminated with blue rope-lighting. When the screen is lowered, it drops slowly and stops at the back lip of the stage.
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