Theatre stage geography
As a cast or crew member in any type of stage production you should know the customary terminology used for stage placement. When your director talks about movement on stage, he or she will use these terms. First we will take a look at the different areas of the stage itself and then explore some of the directional terms (such as Upstaging, Give Stage and Take Stage).
Different types of stages can be found and the terms used vary in relation to them. The example that is used here is for, what is called, the “proscenium stage”, which is the most common form found today and which is also the type of stage found at the Masque Theatre, as you will see in the illustration below.
A proscenium stage is oriented in such a way that the audience directly faces the playing area from the front only. The playing area is separated from the audience by a portal (the proscenium arch, or "pros" in short) and the stage is usually raised, higher than the first rows in the front of the house.
The different stage areas and what they mean
In order to keep track of how performers and set pieces move around the space, the stage is divided up into sections and oriented according to the performers' perspective to the audience.
• Centre Line: Many directors refer to the centre line, which is an imaginary line that indicates the centre of the stage (playing area) and runs in an up- to downstage direction.
The Upstage, Centre Stage and Downstage areas are each further divided into left, centre and right:
Other stage areas and components
Directional stage terms
Next we will explore some of the common terminology your director will use during rehearsals, to get you (as a performer) to move from one area to another. The use of these terms saves everyone time and serves as clear instructions.
Look out for more news articles in which we will explore other aspects of theatre such as stage management, the role of a production secretary and properties (props).
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By Hein Kotze Google+