Friday, February 17, 2012

Theater Terms Defined (D-F)


Dialogue: The words spoken by the actors in a play.

Downstage: The stage area nearest to the audience.

Dress Rehearsal:  A rehearsal prior to performance that combines all of the elements of the production as they will function during an actual performance.

Emotional Memory:  A term mostly used in the Stanislavski "system".  A technique an actor can use to call upon the memory of an emotion similar to the one the character on stage is to feel. 

Emphasis:  The highlighting or accenting of a particular portion or feature of the production.  An actor can give emphasis to a particular action, key line, or to a particular word.

Entrance:  Coming on stage in view of the audience.  Also refers to the opening in the setting that allows the actor to make his/her way on the stage.

Exit:  Leaving the playing area of the stage.  It can also refer to the doorway or other opening in the setting through which the actor leaves.

Exposition:  The part of the story that gives the audience or reader the background they need to understand the story's development.  It is also known as the action that occurred before the beginning of the play.  Most likely to occur in the opening scenes.

Extras:  Actors who appear in a play with no lines and little or no characterization.  They are needed to perform a certain function in the play, like a member of a crowd of people.  Also referred to as Supers.

Farce:  Very similar to comedy, but it differs in the probability of the action.  It leaves the world of reality and ventures into the realm of  impossibility, making it theatrically feasible.  Three of the most important elements are incongruity, exaggeration, and the comic spirit.

Flat:  A light wooden frame covered by canvas that constitutes the primary unit used to build such setting as the box set.

Flies:  The area immediately over the stage where scenery can be raised by a system of pulleys and counterweights.

Floodlight:  A large lighting unit used for illumination of large portions of the stage.  It cannot be focused.

Floor Plan:  An outline drawing of the setting indicating only the design of the setting as it would be seen from above.

Fluff:  A mistake during a performance, such as a missed line or one that is garbled in execution.

Focal Point:  The point of greatest interest on stage during the a scene.

Follow Spot:  A spotlight that is not permanently focused on one position but can follow the movement of an actor about the playing area.

Footlights:  Lights located in the stage floor at the edge of the forestage and allowing general illumination of the stage.

Forestage:  (See Apron):

Fourth Wall:  The imaginary wall that separates the audience and the playing area.  Used to reference the box setting that comprises three walls.  The audience, by convention, is permitted to look at the action through the fourth wall.

Front:  The auditorium and/or lobby that is distinguished from the stage.  Also known as front of house and out front.

Give Stage:  To change stage positions to give greater emphasis to be focused on another actor.

Given Circumstance:  Used in the Stanislavski system referring to any dramatic occurrences that will affect the actor's playing of a scene.  This may take place before or during the time of the play.

Green Room:  Traditionally, the gathering place for actors in the backstage area, often serving a social function as well.

Grid:  (Gridiron):  A framework of steel beams above the stage that supports the rigging required to fly scenery. 

Click here to go to Terms Defined (A-C).

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