Theatre II Production Vocabulary

upstage the stage farthest away from the audience, toward the backstage wall
soliloquies speeches in which one actor speaks aloud revealing his or her inner thoughts
scenery the background pieces such as flats and drops that create a play's setting
role a part in a play
props/properties set furnishings; set props including furniture, pictures, ornaments, drapes, etc.; hand props are items held or handled by actors such as books, glasses, etc
pantomime telling a story or presenting an idea through bodily movement rather than words
off book having a part memorized so that a script is no longer needed
motivation a specific reason for saying or doing something; to show the character's desires through voice and movement
Method acting an approach that calls on the actor to use personal experience and sense memory to develop a character
improvisation an impromptu scene where actors make up the dialogue and action on the spot
house another name for auditorium; where the audience sits
fourth wall the imaginary wall through which the audience views the play
fly space the area above the stage where scenery, drops, and lights are hung
flats pieces of canvas stretched over wooden frames or thin pieces of wood; painted and linked together they create scenery such as walls and doorways
downstage the area of the stage closest to the audience
cyc/cyclorama a curtain or wall that surrounds the back and sides of the stage
counterweight a system that uses lines, cables and weights to raise and lower the battens that hold scenery, drops and lights
cold reading when an actor auditions for a role without having read the script beforehand
casting the process of selecting actors for various roles
batten a horizontal pipe suspended over the stage from which scenery, lights or curtains are hung
backstage the area behind the scenery not visible to the audience
backdrop/drop a painted canvas or muslin curtain hung from a batten to form a part of the scenery
audition a tryout for a play
aside words spoken by a character to the audience rather than to other characters, who supposedly do not hear the speech
apron the stage area between the edge of the stage and the front of the curtain
run through a rehearsal without interruption
Readers Theatre a form of drama in which actors are seated and read aloud from a script
raked stage a slanted stage, where the upstage is slightly higher than the downstage
proscenium stage a stage with a permanent framed opening through which the audience sees the play
prompt book a book (usually a three-ring binder) that contains the script annotated with the director's ideas and blocking notations
project increase voice or actions so they will carry to the audience
onstage any part of the stage that is visible to the audience
offstage any part of the stage where the audience can not see
monologue a long speech by one character
instrument term used to refer to a stage light
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
house lights auditorium lights used before and after the play and during intermission
greenroom a room where actors' relax before and after performances
going up forgetting one's lines during a rehearsal or performance; also called blanking
gels/gelatins transparent color sheets inserted into a frame in front of a spotlight or floodlight
fullback/full front facing completely away from or completely toward the audience
Fresnel a spotlight with a step-lens that throws an efficient and soft beam, usually hung from the teaser batten to light upstage areas
floodlights lights that illuminate broad areas of the stage
external traits characteristics that make up a character's physical appearance, such as posture, mannerisms, voice and clothing
ellipsoidal reflector spotlight (ERS) a spot light with an ellipsoidal reflector, usually hung from the auditorium ceiling; also called a Leko
dimmers controls that change the level of lighting intensity
cross when an actor moves from one side of the stage to the other
counter-cross moving in the opposite direction and out of the way of another actor who is moving across stage
build to make a costume from scratch; the increase of vocal intensity toward a climactic point
blocking the director's planned movement for the characters
absurdism a form of theatre in which language becomes unconventional, and in which political and social problems are examined and presented to the audience in unconventional ways
acoustics pertaining to sound
act curtain the curtain hung just upstage of the proscenium that opens and closes at the end of each scene
actor's point of view the way cast members react to the audience and the situation
Cyclorama A large curtain covering the back and sides of the stage
prompt book a book (usually a three -ring binder) that contains the script annotated with the director's ideas and blocking notations
proscenium stage a stage with a permanent framed opening through which the audience sees the play
raked stage a slanted stage, where upstage is slightly higher than down stage
Readers Theatre a form of drama in which actors are seated and read aloud from a script
run-through a rehearsal without interruption
scoring a role marking the script with notes on blocking and delivery; analyzing the script as an aid to character development
scrim a loose weave curtain on a batten used for "visions", "flashbacks", etc. The curtain is opaque when lighted from the front; transparent when lighted from the back
sense memory memory that uses the senses to recapture an experience
sightlines imaginary lines indicating visibility of stage areas from different points in the audience
stage left the left side of the stage from the actor's perspective as he or she faces the audience
stage right the stage area to the actor's right as he or she faces the audience
teaser the overhead curtain that masks the first batten of lights and that adjusts the height of the proscenium opening
thrust stage a stage that extends into the audience area, with the audience seated on three sides
tormentors side curtains or flats that adjust the proscenium width
trapdoor an opening in the stage floor where actors can enter and exit
upstaging drawing the audience's attention to yourself when it should be focused on another character
voice-over the voice of an unseen narrator
wings off stage to the right and left of the acting area
work lights white lights used solely for rehearsal
working rehearsal a rehearsal at which interpretation of the play is developed and words and action are put together