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Know Your Stage Directions

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Directions from House


Theatrical Spaces

Theaters used to have a "raked stage" and a flat audience. That meant that the back of the stage was higher and tilted toward the audience so that the audience could see. That is where the term "upstage" comes from. Now we rake the audience so that the stage can be flat.

     [ To "upstage" another actor meant to stand upstage of them in a scene, so that to speak to you they had to face upstage and the audience could not see their face. The term became a reference to stealing the scene with more dramatic acting.]

Proscenium Stage -

     What we usually call a theatre. The Proscenium is the "picture frame" of the stage. The wings are the sides of the playing area, just out of sight of the audience. Typically, soft goods called "legs" separate the ares into "wing 1", "wing 2", etc.
    The part of the stage in front of the Proscenium is the Apron.

     In front of the apron is often an Orchestra Pit. Some of these raise or lower, and either the orchestra will be set there or extra audience seating.
   The audience seating is often called the House. The area in the house where sound, lighting and other technicians sit is called Front of House. There is no back of house.

Thrust Stage -

     A stage or part of a stage surrounded on three sides by the audience.

Arena Theatre -

     A "theater in the round" in which the audience surrounds the stage completely.

Black Box Theatre -

    "Flexible Theatre" is a space painted all black where the stage and seating can be set up any way.

Profile Theatre -

     A "found space" set up to be a theatre space.

Sports Arenas -

     Temporary flooring and a stage deck are built for the event in whatever shape and size are required.

Bone Yard is a term for the area used to store Dead Cases, cases that won't be used again until the load out.

The Green Room is the lounge area for the talent to hang out in, usually located just outside of the dressing rooms.

There are also distinctions between types of theaters. A Repertory House usually produces shows itself, with its own complete set of equipment, an in-house cast and crew, and a variety of potential acts. A Road House deals almost entirely with shows produced by traveling groups, and the house only provides a set of pre-ordained cursory equipment and crew.

Arena Areas

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