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BASIC THEATRE TERMINOLOGY FUNDAMENTALS OF THEATRE I
APRON The stage floor between the front edge of the stage and the front curtain.
ARENA STAGE Staging in the center of a room with the audience sitting on all sides of the playing area; sometimes called theatre in the round.
ASIDE Words spoken by a character to the audience rather than to the other characters, who supposedly DO NOT hear the speech.
AUDITION Tryout for a part in a play, t.v. show or movie.
BACKDROP / DROP A painted canvas or muslin curtain hung from a batten to form part of the scenery.
BACKSTAGE The area behind the scenery not visible to the audience.
BATTEN A horizontal pipe suspended over the stage, from which scenery, lights or curtains are hung; also called a rail.
BLOCKING The director’s planned movement for the actor’s.
CASTING The process of selecting actors for various roles.
COLD READINGS When an actor auditions for a role without having read the script beforehand.
COUNTER-CROSS Moving in the opposite direction – and out of the way- of another actor who is moving across the stage.
CROSS When an actor moves from one side of the stage to another.
CUE A directive for action.
DIRECTOR The person responsible for interpreting the script, creating a viable production concept, and directing the actor’s.
DOWNSTAGE The area of the stage closest to the audience.
DRESS REHEARSALS A run-through with all technical elements, including costumes and make- up.
EXTERNAL TRAITS Characteristics that make up a character’s physical appearance, such as posture, gestures, mannerisms, voice and clothing.
FLATS Pieces of canvas or plywood attached to wooden frames, painted and linked together, to create walls and doors on stage.
FLY SPACE The area above the stage where scenery, drops and lights are hung when not in use.
FOURTH WALL The imaginary wall through which the audience views the play.
“GOING-UP” When an actor forgets lines during rehearsal or a performance; also called blanking.
GRAND DRAPE The curtain that covers the opening of the proscenium arch.
GRAND VALANCE Used in conjunction with the grand drape. It masks the scenery and equipment just up stage of the proscenium arch.
HOUSE The place where the audience sits.
HOUSE LIGHTS Auditorium lights used before and after the play and during intermission.
ILLUSION OF THE FIRST TIME The actor’s ability to perform in a show over and over while making it appear that the dialogue and situations are happening for the first time.
IMPROVISATION An impromptu scene where the actors make up the dialogue and action on the spot.
LEGS Narrow, vertical stage drapes used for masking.
LOAD-IN The moving of scenery and associated equipment into the theatre and their positioning on the stage.
Method Acting An approach that calls on the actor to use personal experience and sense memory to develop a character.
MONOLOGUE A long speech spoken by one actor.
MOTIVATION A specific reason for saying or doing something.
OFF-BOOK Having a part memorized so that a script is no longer needed.
PANTOMIME Telling a story or presenting an idea through bodily movement and expression without words.
PLAYWRIGHT Person who writes and develops the script.
PRODUCER Person who selects the script, finds the financial backing and hires all production personnel.
PROJECT Increase voice so it will carry to the audience.
PROMPT BOOK A book (usually in a 3-ring binder) that contains the script with the director’s ideas and blocking notations.
PROPS Items handled by actor’s such as books, ornaments, a broom, a glass, glasses, a suitcase etc.
PROSCENIUM STAGE A stage with a permanent framed opening through which the audience sees the play. THIS IS THE KIND OF STAGE WE HAVE HERE AT ALLATOONA
RAKED STAGE A slanted stage, where upstage is slightly higher than downstage.
READERS THEATRE A form of theatre in which actors are seated and read aloud from a script.
ROLE A part in a play, t.v. show or movie.
RUN-THROUGH A rehearsal without interruption.
SCENERY The background pieces such as flats and drops to create the play’s setting.
SIGHTLINES Imaginary lines indicating visibility of stage areas from different points in the house.
STAGE LEFT The left side of the stage from the actor’s perspective as he or she faces the audience.
STAGE The area where the action of the play takes place.
STAGE CREW Those who shift the sets and props during rehearsals and performances.
STAGE MANAGER Person who assists the director during rehearsals and manages all backstage activity once the play has opened.
STAGE RIGHT The right side of the stage from the actor’s perspective as he or she faces the audience.
STRIKE Taking down the set following the conclusion of a play’s production run.
THRUST STAGE A stage that juts out into the audience area, with the audience usually sitting around its three sides.
UPSTAGE The stage area farthest away from the audience.
UPSTAGING Drawing the audience’s attention to yourself when it should be focused on another character.
WINGS Tall cloth covered frames or narrow unframed drops that are placed on either side of the stage.
How do actors, directors, technicians & designers talk about their work? They speak the language of STAGECRAFT ©2006 EvaMedia, Inc.
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