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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 furniture. 
                       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.

Cover             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

Open            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.


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.

Cue                 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.

Given Circumstances
                      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.

Point               Giving special emphasis to a word or business. For instance, the last line of a scene, act
                        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.

Proscenium Opening    
                        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".