Stage Area Hierarchy 1st comes D or U 2nd comes R or L 3rd comes C Upstage Left Up Right Center Down Center
Body Positions Indicated by the position of the feet
Denotation of Stage Movement We use abbreviations when writing stage areas (C, DL, 1/4R, PL, etc.) X = cross Examples: –X C 1/4L = cross to center stage, stand in a one-quarter left position –X UL PR
The Six Basic Principles of Stage Movement Motivated Simplified Heightened Reveal Character Open To The Audience Adjust to the Characters on the Stage
Motivated All movement must be motivated. Shuffling your feet, fidgeting, or nervously moving at random is unforgivable. An actor should never move without purpose. Motivation is justification are not one and the same thing. A movement is justified through its motivation. Control your own body functions and problems i.e., sweat, itch, cough, etc.
Simplified While action in real life is often complex and detailed, art must be more selective if it is to communicate. An actor must use only carefully chosen movement that quickly and lucidly conveys ideas. Less is more.
Heightened To compensate for the distance between actor and audience some exaggeration or heightening is necessary. This is particularly true when you must " point up" or draw special attention to an idea or object that has an important bearing on the rest of the play. For example, the hiding of a letter in Act I that must later be found in Act III needs special heightening. Allow your sense of good taste to restrain you from over exaggeration. A little bigger than life- not real life, realistic representation of life.
Reveal Character A Character's personality, attitude, health, and age are all revealed in his movement. A fat person moves differently from a thin person. An easy going individual moves differently from a nervous person. Youth's actions vary from those of older people. Always move in character if you are to give a convincing portrayal. How you move is who you are - personifies who you are.
Open to the Audience Movement must always be open to the audience without appearing obvious. In theater the audience is all important. Unless you have a legitimate reason for not doing so, always play toward the house. use a one quarter body positions, make turns towards the audience, and use your up stage foot and hand so that your body won't be covered from view. For example, when you are telephoning, hold the receiver with you upstage hand so you can "open" your face to audience. If I can't see it, I can't understand, empathize, etc.
Adjust to Characters on Stage Always keep in mind your relationship to the other characters. People who dislike each generally keep at a distance; those fond of each other will feel the need of closeness. Don't only adjust to " characters" but also to the other actors. Do not stand directly downstage of an upstage plane and you are being blocked by an actor on plane downstage of you, it is your responsibility to get open as you can see if you are blocked; the actor downstage of you may not realize it unless he is blocked to turn his back on the audience.