Stage Directions• We talk about the locations on stage from the actor’s point of view when they’re standing on the stage facing the audience. The actor’s right hand is stage right, etc. If the actor turns around and faces away from the audience, we don’t change the terminology.• The part of the stage that is farthest from the audience is referred to as upstage, while the closest is downstage. This comes from a time when the stages were “raked,” which means they were built like a giant ramp that slanted uphill away from the audience. So if they walked away from the audience, they were literally going UP stage.
Stage DirectionsUpstage Right Upstage Center Upstage Left Stage Right Center Stage Stage Left DownstageDownstage Right Downstage Left Center Audience
Stage Directions• We have directions in the audience too. We refer to the audience as the “house,” and we talk about those directions from the point of view of the audience as they face the stage. So Stage Right would be the same as House left and vice versa.
St-st-st-st-stages…There is more than one kind of stage, and eachstage affects the performance, the staging, the acting and the audience.
Proscenium Stage Formal stage framed by a Proscenium Arch Invisible “fourth wall” separating the stage from the house Seating is usually “raked” (slanted uphill away from the stage, so that rows behind can see) Stages are sometimes “raked” as well (remember… the stage directions) Multiple seating levels: orchestra (main level) and balcony (upper level) Wings are the sides of the stage that are not visible to the audience – where actors wait before they come on stage, or where set pieces are kept when they need to be out of sight Fly loft is the space directly above the stage where scenery and lights can be hung from pipes called batons
Thrust Stage• The audience sits on three sides, or in a semicircle around a stage that thrusts out into the audience• The kind of theatre the Greeks used• Offers a sense of intimacy• Limitations due to sightlines – since the audience is sitting on three sides, their view can be easily blocked by set pieces or even by actors
Arena Stage Also called theatre-in-the-round Stage in the middle with the audience on all sides Even more intimate – audience can see each other Even more limitations on sightlines – there really can’t be any large set pieces or they’ll block everyone’s view of something
Arena Stage We still have to talk about stage directionson an Arena stage. Youcould just decide whichdirection is going to be considered “downstage” or“upstage.” Or, you can talk about it like a clock, and decide which direction isgoing to be considered twelve o’clock.
Flexible Spaces• Often called “Black Box Theatres” – Large open spaces (guess what color paint they use) that can be configured in many different ways. All of these photoswere taken in the same theatre – it’s a black box theatre that canbe rearranged into any configuration.
REALLY Flexible TheatreWatch these videos about a very high tech spacethat was build in Dallas a few years ago.Imagine the possibilities of a theatre thisflexible...• Dallas Theatre Center• Time Lapsed Video of the DTC
Found Spaces• A theatre set up in a space not ordinarily used for performance – so maybe you decide to perform a play in an abandoned warehouse or a park (without actually changing the space to turn it into a theatre)• Most early theatres probably began this way• Street theatre – Brings performances to places where people do not normally attend traditional theatre
Improv Everywhere• Link 1 Speaking of found spaces, Theatre can happen any time,• Link 2 anywhere. Sometimes it’s totally scripted, and sometimes it’s improvised on the spot – though improv will still have a plan of some sort. Check out these two links from a group called Improv Everywhere. You might call what they do a flashmob… does a flashmob count as theatre? Look back at our criteria and see if you think what they’re doing counts. Plus… just enjoy! These guys are a lot of fun!
Site Specific• Theatre performed in a place that is specific to the show itself – performing Marat/Sade or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in an asylum This is a picture from a production of the absurdist play Waiting for Godot, which was adapted to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was performed in front of a washed out house in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
Commercial Theatre• Broadway – Located in the Theatre District of Manhattan – 500+ seats – They spend big money and they charge big money for tickets• Off-Broadway – Located in or near the Theatre District of Manhattan – 100-499 seats – More variety in terms of price, meaning they can be a little more accessible• Tours – Large productions – usually originally from Broadway – that travel from city to city
Not-for-Profit Theatre• Off-Off Broadway – Located in or near the Theatre District of Manhattan – <100 seats – More experimental, lower budget, opportunities for more artists to do more kinds of theatre• Regional Theatre – In the 1940s, theatres began to sprout up outside of New York, all over the country – These are high-quality professional theaters, generally on par with the Off-Broadway theatres, but they are usually not-for-profit
Amateur Theatre• Educational theatre – Associated with schools from kindergarten to university – In the university setting, these theatres set out to train theatre artists• Community Theatre – Local entertainment and performance opportunities for community populations – The actors are not professional actors, they are just normal people from the community – this is more of a hobby
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