We begin with the Basics … Theatre Vocabulary Performance Spaces Traditions Etiquette Superstitions
Understanding these concepts will allow you to: Efficiently work in a variety of situations and spaces. Allow for more focus on the artistic elements of production. Effectively communicate with a wide range of theatre artists (actors, directors, designers)
A Theatre has 3 main parts: The House The Stage Backstage
The House The seating area of a theatre. Areas of seating include the Orchestra, Mezzanine, Balcony and Box Seats. The open pathways between sections of seats are called Aisles.
Important things to know about the House Rows of seats are usually identified by letters. Seats are usually identified by numbers. A combination of numbers may be used to differentiate between sections. Terms used to identify sections of the house are based on the audiences perspective when facing the stage. Seating is overseen by the House Manager and Ushers. Tickets are sold through the Box Office. These positions are collectively called the Front of House staff. The House Manager is responsible for all seating issues and communicates with the Stage Manager to make sure the show runs smoothly from an Front of House standpoint.
Seating … The Orchestra is the main level of seating. The orchestra is usually raked, or sloped to allow for better viewing. The Orchestra is sometimes referred to as the Floor or the Stalls. Upper levels are sometimes called the Dress Circle, Grand Circle, Mezzanine, Loge, Balcony, Gods Box Seats are small seating areas on the far sides of the house. These seats are traditionally seen as very prestigious, but do not provide excellent views of the stage.
You may also want to know that: Seating may be assigned, or General/Festival seating. In many modern theatres Pricing is based on seating, with the Orchestra seats being the most expensive. Although the seating area may also be called The Auditorium, knowledgeable theatre folks rarely use that term.
The designated space for the performance of theatrical productions. May also be called the deck. May be temporary, but in structures specifically designed for performances it is usually a fixed structure. There are several different stage set ups. We will discuss those more in depth a little later.
Stage directions are given from the perspective of the actor as they face the audience. These directions are used by the director to communicate to actors where they should move on stage, as well as where they should enter and exit. Stage Directions use a combination of Up, Down, Left, Right and Center. Traveling from one spot on the stage to another is known as a cross. A counter cross (also known simply as a counter) is a move made by another actor to maintain balance or sightlines on stage.
Audience Upstage Right UR Upstage Center UC Upstage Left UL Stage Right SR Center Stage C Stage Left SL Down Stage Right DR Down Stage Center DC Down Stage Left DL
Using Stage Directions: Abbreviations are used to quickly notate blocking. Crosses can be abbreviated X So to note a move to Down Stage Left you can simply use X DL.