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STAGE DIRECTIONS, AREAS, BODY POSITIONS, and MOVEMENT
Above Away from the audience (same as upstage of).
Below Toward the audience (same as downstage of).
Blocking The process of
working the arrangement of actors on stage with relationship to the
Purposes are to tell the story, develop characterization, set mood, and also to create suspense.
Downstage Towards the audience.
In Toward the center of the stage.
Out Away from the center of the stage.
Stage left The actor's left as he faces the audience.
Stage right The actor's right as he faces the audience.
Upstage Away from the audience.
Closed The actor is turned away from the audience.
Countercross Adjustment in the opposite direction of the cross.
An actor stands in front of another actor.
Rules: 1. It is the responsibility of the downstage actor not to cover the upstage actor.
2. If you are the upstage actor and are covered, make a slight adjustment.
3. Make crosses below actors.
Cross Abbreviated X, it is a move from one place to another on stage.
Give, take When two actors are not equally open, one gives and the other takes the scene
An open position is one which faces the audience. An open turn is one which
turns towards the audience.
Rules: 1. Play shared scenes equally open in quarter position.
2. Whenever possible, turn downstage, but make the most logical turn.
3. Kneel on the downstage knee.
4. Use your upstage arm for gestures so as to avoid covering yourself.
Share Two actors share when they are equally open.
Upstaging "One actor upstages another
when he takes a position that forces the second actor to face upstage
or away from the audience. Since the downstage actor is put at a disadvantage, upstaging has an
unpleasant connotation and is generally to be avoided. You should take positions on the exact level of
the actor with whom you are playing. Neither intentionally nor unintentionally upstage another actor
unless you are directed to do so." (McGaw and Clark. Acting is Believing)
Wings Offstage spaces at the sides of the acting areas.
LINES and DIALOGUE, MISCELLANEOUS TERMS
Acting Area Two sit-down positions 6' or more apart.
Action Pursuit of a specific goal.
Apron Also known as forestage, that part of the stage which juts out in front of the curtain.
Aside A line spoken to a character which is not supposed to be heard by others on stage.
Beat From the beginning to the end of an intention or objective.
Build Increase volume or tempo to reach a climax.
Concentration Giving complete attention to something. Key to effective acting.
Line or piece of business which tells another actor it is time to speak or act.
Pick up cues - Actors may be given the direction to pick up cues. This means to begin speaking
immediately as the cue is finished, and possibly even before.
Dialogue Lines spoken by the characters in a play, scripted by a playwright. Be true to the script.
Ensemble Acting The stress is on the group rather than on an individual performance.
Fourth wall In an interior setting of four wall, the side between the actor and the audience.
Unchangeable fact that affects the playing of the scene. Particularly important are religious,
political, social, educational, and climactic facts.
Ground Plan Arrangement of the place of the scene.
Includes walls, steps, furniture, doors and so forth.
Drawn as if directly overhead. NOTE: A high-tension ground plan has 5 or more acting areas.
Motivation Why a character does what he does.
Mugging A derogatory term for exaggerated facial expressions.
Objective Pursuit of a specific goal. Must be phrased in terms of action - to _____ him/her. Intention.
Obstacle Physical or psychological hindrance or obstruction.
Giving special emphasis to a word or business. For instance, the last line of a
or play is usually pointed.
Properties "Things" or
"objects" which are integral to the performance.
Kinds: 1. Hand props - small things held in the hand (coffee cups, pens, etc.)
2. Personal props - Things which are carried by an actor but are specifically used by him
(watches, cigarette holders, glasses, etc.)
3. Costume props - Costume accessories (gloves, etc.).
4. Stage props - Items used to dress the stage (books, lamps, etc.)
Prop table - Table placed offstage where properties are placed when not in use.
Proscenium The wall dividing the stage from the auditorium.
The opening, usually an arch, in the proscenium wall through which the audience can see the stage.
Runthrough An uninterrupted rehearsal of the entire
scene, act, or play. This is in contrast to a "working"
rehearsal where director or technicians may stop the run to work problems, or a "blocking"
rehearsal where director gives movement to actors.
Stealing Taking the audience's attention when not supposed to have it. Scene stealers are frowned upon.
Subtext The text beneath the text.
Telescoping Overlapping speeches. Used to build
Top To build a line higher than the preceeding one.
Movement and parts of the stage
Movement in non-proscenium theatres usually is given in terms of compass or clock.
A director will say, "cross to 9:00", or "cross to NE".
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