Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

Basic Theater Terms

Aside: a speech or comment made by an actor directly to the audience about the action of the
play or another character. The audience is to understand that this comment is not heard or
noticed by the other characters in the play.
Blocking: the process of determining the placement or location of actors on stage and planning
their relative movement in a scene.
Costume: clothing and accessories worn by an actor in to signify period and portray character.
While we often emphasize scenery and effects in today's theatre, costume can often be more
important to an actor's creation of a role.
Downstage: the front of the stage, or that portion of the stage closest to the audience
Fourth Wall: the imaginary fourth wall that is removed from box set to enable the audience to
see the action on stage. The term now applies to the "wall" separating audience and performers
on any type of stage or even film and television. Thus, the term "breaking the fourth wall" refers
to an actor speaking directly to the audience.
Monologue: long speech by a single actor. Similar to soliloquy. The speech is generally made
by the actor as if speaking to himself and is revealing of his or her thoughts or feelings.
Musical: play in which the story is told through a combination of spoken dialogue and musical
numbers. Originally, the plot was slight and the musical numbers had little connection to, and did
little to advance the plot. Development of the musical was particularly advanced by innovative
plays such as Porgy and Bessand Oklahoma!
Offstage: areas of the stage that are not part of the set
Pace: the rate at which a scene or act is played.
Proscenium: the opening in a "picture frame" stage. Came into use in Restoration theatre,
replacing the thrust stage of Elizabethan theatre and was a standard feature of stages from the
17th Century until open or thrust stages, as well as theatres in the round came into extensive use
again in the 20th Century. The proscenium stage was much influenced by the design of theatre
houses designed Italy from the 16th Century forward. The proscenium helped to hide the
machinery and equipment used to change settings in a production.
Scenery: term used to describe everything on stage (except props) used to represent the place at
which action is occurring.
Set: the surroundings on stage, visible to the audience, in which the action of a play develops.
Set Piece: three-dimensional piece of scenery or a flat cut so as to appear three-dimensional.
Soliloquy: a passage of narrative spoken by a single actor in which his or her thoughts are
revealed to the audience.

Sound Effects: originally produced backstage by members of the crew. In modern theatre, this
may still take place, but effects are more often produced through a sound system consisting of a
tape deck or compact disc player, a control board, amplifier and strategically placed speakers.
Stage Direction: indications in a script for entrances and exits, and for movement in relation to
the set within a particular scene.
Stage Left: the left side of the stage when facing the audience.
Stage Right: the right side of the stage when facing the audience.
Suspension of Disbelief: the goal of any theatre company in presenting or performing a play is
to cause the audience to suspend their disbelief, or to momentarily forget that what they are
watching is a performance, but is, in an emotional sense, "real".
Symbolism: use of symbolic pieces of scenery to represent more than their mere physical
characteristics; for instance, using a saddle to represent a horse, or a chair to represent an entire
room. As a discrete movement in the theatre, symbolism was a reaction in opposition to realism.
Upstage: stage direction referring to the back of the stage, or that part furthest from the
audience. Originated from the fact that stages were originally raked at an upward angle from the
front to the back of the stage.