Theater Lingo

Player: a performer, usually a term for an actor

Downstage: Towards the audience

Upstage:  Away from the audience

Upstaging: Standing behind someone and reacting

Upstaging Yourself: Turning upstage during an action (acting) and the reaction from the other player is more interesting.

Act: Mimicking/committing to an action as a vessel to tell the words of the playwright.

React: Mimicking/committing to an action that logically would follow the action of the previous player AND logically transition to your next action.

Action: a verb, starting with ‘to,’ This is what you are doing.

Tactic: an adjective or adverb, how you do your verb.

Impulse: where you initiate the movement (example walking, but leading from the hips, would be the impulse)

Intention: Why you want your goal

Motivation: Why you want your goal

Obstacle: What is in your way of your goal

Objective: Your Goal

Indicating: melodramatically telling the audience what is going on with non-realistic actions, pantomiming, and/or leading the audience to something specific without a motivated action (pointing out to the audience what is going on)

Spike: a mark on the floor

Find Your Light: walk into the hottest/warmest/brightest part of the lighting instrument while on stage

Your Call, When you are Called: What time you need to be at the theater or how much time you have before you need to be onstage

Cross: walk across

Mark: where specifically you or a set piece needs to be, exactly, at a specific point in the script

Marking: going through the motions

Hold: Stop

Clear: Move out of the way

Heads:  Duck AND move away from the sound (NEVER LOOK UP, just move!)

Stage Right: The actor’s right, facing the audience

Stage Left: The actor’s left. facing the audience

Center: The middle of the stage

Beat: a moment, that can be isolated into a miniature scene

Line: One sentence of text

Line Reading: Saying the line the way someone would like it said

Calling For Line: Saying ‘line’ to prompt someone to give you the line when you forget

Stay in Character/in the moment: A command to remind you, the actor, to not be seen on stage, and instead only allow the character you mean to portray to be present.

Breaking Character: Allowing you, the actor, to be seen on stage, and not staying in the character you mean to portray.

Notes: Directions

Speed Through: Talking as quickly as possible through the script, just to work lines

Cue: The line, sound, or event right before a line

Picking up a cue: Speaking your line closer to the previous line, sound, or event right before your line.

Blocking/Staging: Where you go onstage, and how.

Off Book: No longer requiring your script to remember the lines.

Choreography: Where you go onstage, and how, using dance as a vessel.

Choreographer: The person who creates and teaches the choreography to the performers.

Director: The person who makes all decisions regarding the play/piece, including leading the choreographer, designers, and actors.

Stage Manager: Calls technical cues for the show, gives notes to the actors once the show has opened.

Producer: The person who puts the money up for the show.


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