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Acting/Theatre Terms

Quiz 1

ad lib to improvise words and actions not contained in the text
apron the forestage. Projects beyond the proscenium arch
arc cross movement in a curved line
arena stage/theatre-in-the-round theater space where the audience sits on all four sides
aside unspoken thoughts of a character delivered directly to the audience with the other characters on stage but unable to hear what is being said
auditions competitive tryout for a performer seeking a role in a theatre production
backdrop large sheet of painted canvas or muslin that hangs at the back of a set
backstage stage area beyond the acting area, including the dressing rooms
beat specific moment in an actor's speech; a slight pause before continuing the speech; a break in the rhythm
blackout a fast darkening of the stage, usually indicating the end of a scene
blocking the arrangement of the actors' movement on stage
blocking rehearsals rehearsal with emphasis placed on stage movement, as overseen or dictated by the director
body position the actor's physical stance in relation to an audience
build to increase the loudness, rate, and energy of a line, speech, scene or song in order to reach a climax
business non-voiced action with or without props; activity performed by an actor during or in place of a speech
call 1) announcement to performers or crews that they are needed for a rehearsal or performance; 2) warning to performers to get ready for an entrance
call board a backstage bulletin board on which notices of concern to the actors are posted
center line an imaginary line down the center of the stage, from upstage to downstage
cheat move that does not attract attention to itself while managing to keep the actor in view of the audience. Director may say, "Cheat right" or "cheat open."
closed turn turn made away and with the actor's back to the audience, usually considered a poor movement
counter or counter-cross as one actor moves, another actor shifts his/her position to balance the composition of scene
cross movement of an actor from one position on the stage to another
cue signal to an actor or stage technician that the next line or stage function is to occur
curtain call the appearance of the actors on stage at the end of a performance to receive the audience's applause
downstage the part of the stage closest to the audience as you face the audience
drop to skip a line or say it with insufficient volume to be heard clearly
emotional memory/recall use personal experience, method acting
flat frame constructed of 1-by-3 boards, covered with canvas, painted, and used most often for interior or exterior walls of a building in a stage setting
fly loft (flies) space above the stage where scenery may be lifted out of sight of the audience
footlights a series of lights placed on the stage floor along the front of the stage
fourth wall an imagined partition closing to a three-sided set on the downstage side at the proscenium
gels color medium made of dyed animal material. Used to change the color in any stage lighting instrument
gesture a movement
give/take when two actors are not equally open and one receives a greater emphasis than the other based on position, the actor emphasized is said to "take" the scene, and the other is said to "give" the scene to the emphasized actor
greenroom traditional name of the room in which actors gather to wait for entrances
grid framework of steel affixed to the stage ceiling, used to support rigging necessary for flying scenery or lighting
house area of the theatre in which the audience sits to watch a performance
masking the draperies or flats that hide backstage from the audience's view
monologue uninterrupted speech delivered by one character in a play to other characters who are at least present, if not listening
mugging a derogatory term for exaggerated facial expression
objective the goal toward which a character is striving. The superobjective is the life goal that determines how a character acts
on (or off) book unable (or able) to perform a scene without looking at a script; the stage manager following along in the script during rehearsal is also said to be "on book"
open turn actor is to turn toward the audience
open up actor is to turn front and face the audience
pacing rate of performance (not just speed, but also precision, intensity, clarity, and frequency of new emotions, impressions)
pick up cues to speed up or shorten the time between a cue and the next line
places an order warning the actors to take their positions onstage
projection actor's technique for making voice, movements, and gestures clear to all parts of the house
property/prop material object that is carried by performers or is used on the set
proscenium (or proscenium arch) mostly open wall separating the stage from the auditorium
raked stage a stage that is slanted, either to increase visibility or produce false perspective
repertory set group of productions that a theatre company has prepared for performance; also, the practice of alternating performances of different plays of the repertory
run-thorugh rehearsal in which the actors preform long sections of the play without to gain a better understanding of the shape of the whole
shared stage placing actors so all have equal focus and emphasis
soliloquy inner thoughts of a character spoken alone on stage to explore the character's private thoughts; often lyric in style and highly emotional
stage left/right left/right side of the stage, from the actor's perspective
stage picture arrangement on a stage of performers and the visual production elements
strike to remove a setting, props, or furniture from positions onstage
throw away underplay a moment in a scene; de-emphasize a line reading or a piece of business
thrust stage/apron stage wraparound theater space where the stage extends out into the audience and the spectators view the action from three side.s The main advantage to this setup is that more of the audience can be closer to the actors.
top to "build" on a previous line's energy and/or volume; one actor tops the other, building tension and emotional impact
trap opening in the stage floor, normally covered, which can be used for special effects, such as having scenery or performers rise from below, or which permits the construction of a staircase which ostensibly leads to a lower floor or cellar
upstage area on the stage area farthest away from the audience. The term dates back to the days when the stage was raked away from the audience so that actors had to literally walk upstage.
upstaging to cross deliberately to a place upstage of another actor and assume a full front or one-quarter position, thereby forcing the other performer to turn to a three-quarter position in order to talk with the upstager
wings offstage areas right and left stage
Created by: tim.reynolds11