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Basic Theatre Terms

Act The main division of a play or musical
Action The interplay between performers
Ad-lib To improvise
Apron The part of the stage in front of the curtain
Aside A short remark made to the audience by one of the characters in the play
Audition A process whereby perspective actors/singers/dancers perform in front of a group of individuals usually including the director and/or stage manager who are looking to cast specific roles and chorus
Backstage Any area not seen by the audience, including dressing rooms
Bit part A small role
Blackout Quickly cutting the lights to make the stage area completely dark
Blocking Providing the actors with their locations on stage and their actions
Box office The place where one can purchase tickets to the show
Break a leg An old theatrical adage meaning "good luck"
Breakaway A costume or prop that is designed to come apart easily
Callback When a director selects a few performers from auditions who are asked to return for a second try-out
Casting The process of choosing performers to play the selected roles
Characterization Adding the traits, quirks and mannerisms of a particular character.
Cold reading Reading a part from a script that one has not rehearsed before
Company Any performers, crew, stage hands, etc. associated with a particular show
Cover To stand in front of someone else on stage, blocking them from the audience
Cue That which signals when to enter, exit, play music, change lighting, etc.
Curtain call Final bows at the end of a performance
Director Although the director can fall under many subheadings, it is the person responsible for the overall artistic vision of the production
Double To play more than one role in the same production
Dress Rehearsal A final rehearsal with all make-up, costumes, sets, lighting, sound etc. A dry run of the exact performance, just without an audience
Extra A person who is used to provide proper background but who doesn't have lines
Front of House Can include lobby and box office. A place where audience members can mingle before the performance starts
Greenroom A reception lounge for performers, waiting to go on
House The place where the audience is seated
Houselights Those lights that illuminate the audience area and are turned off before the show commences
Monologue A long speech given by one character
Off Book At a stage in rehearsals when the actors are no longer using their scripts as lines have been committed to memory
Prompter Someone backstage who is following the script and can cue a forgotten line
Run The number of performances of a particular production
Run-through A rehearsal of a part of the script (without interruption)
Set The furniture, props, backdrops etc. that transform the bare stage into the proper location for the performance
Scrim A gauze or net curtain that becomes transparent when lit from behind
Sight gag Visual humor - can involve a prop, costume, or movement
Spike Marking the stage with tape to indicate positions of props, furniture etc. (Also referred to as marking out)
Strike To dismantle the set
Technical Rehearsal A rehearsal where lighting, scene changes, sound cues and special effects are rehearsed
Timing Being able to deliver words or actions at the most effective moment
Trap An opening in the stage floor where performers and/or props etc. can disappear
Understudy A performer who is ready to take over a specific role if the original performer is unable to do a performance (usually due to illness)
Wings Space at the sides of the stage, just behind the curtains. Performers enter and exit from the wings
Created by: Panda-chan31