Name the 6 Elements of Theatre & the most important ones

Audience, Performers, Theatre Space, Text/Script, Director, Design Elements

(Greek tragedy) Exposition is...?

The who/what/why and when.. the background info that you should know before the play starts

(Greek tragedy) Parados

entrance of the chorus, and also the physical entranceway was called this

(Greek tragedy) Episodes

was made up of sually 3-6 of three scenes, between each one was a chorus


end of the play

satyr play

half goat half human, comedy making fun of serious plays. the refreshing part after you watched 3 tragedies

the Golden Age, also called Classical Period

5th century BC in Athens, Greece. Achievements in politics, philosophy, science & the arts (theatre!).


in classical Greek Old Comedy, a scene witha debate between the 2 opposing forces in a play


a wealthy person who financed a playwright's works at an ancient Greek dramatic festival

City Dionysia

most important Greek festival in honor of the god Sionysus, and the first to include drama


leader of a Roman acting troupe

New Comedy

Hellenistic Greek & Roman comedies that deal with romantic and domestic situations

Old Comedy

classical Greek comedy that pokes fun at social, political or cultural conditions and at particular figures


the circular stage area


originally a Roman entertainment in which a narrative was sung by a chorus while the story was acted out by dancers


scene in classical Greek Old Comedy in which the chorus directly addresses the audience members and makes fun of them


stage house in a Roman theatre


where the audience sits


nasty word for actor


in classical Greece, 3 tragedies written by the same playwright and presented on a single day, connected by a story or thematic conern

aesthetic distance

physical or psychological separation or detachment of audience from dramatic action, usually considered necessary for artistic illusion

Auteur director

a director who believes that his/her role is to be the author of a production. An auteur director's POV dominates that of the playwright, and the director may make textual changes and modifications.

Descriptive criticism

instead of saying just whether you like it or not personally, criticism you attempt to describe as clearly and accurately as possible what is happening in an audience

Prescriptive Criticism

Criticism that offers advice and sometimes suggests rules for what should be done in theatre, what should be changed.

Emotional Recall

Stanislavski's exercise that helps the performer present realistic emotions. The performer feels a character's emotion by thinking of an event in his or her own life that led to a similar emotion.

Ensemble playing

Acting that stresses the total artistic unity of a group performance rather than individual performances

The magic IF

if yourself into a situation




Japanese puppet theatre
-puppets big deal
-takes 15 years to do this, etc
-puppets head controlled by main guy, right arm by somebody else, etc
-particularly noted by suicide lovers plays
-there are chanters, and instrument players, more about the author's writing, less about the acting


in Kabuki theatre, a bridge running from behind the audience (toward the left side of the audience) to the stage. Performers can enter on this, important scenes may also be played on it.


Bridge in no theatre on which the performers make their entrance from the dressing area to the platform stage


Form of popular Japanese theatre combining music, dance, and dramatic scenes. Actors wear elaborate makeup, it's a dance-drama.


Traditional dance drama of India. Played late at night, elaborate costume, makeup, etc on actors, percussion music played, too.

Liturgical Drama

Early midieval church drama, written in Latin and dealing with biblical stories


Individual scenic units used for the staging of religious dramas in the middle ages

Morality Play

Medieval drama designed to teach a lesson. Characters often allegorical and represented virtues or faults.

Mystery/Cycle plays

short dramas of the middle ages based on the events of the old and new testaments and often organized into historical cycles

No (play)

rigidly traditional form of Japanese drama combining music, dance and lyrics. No originates from the meaning "skill"or "talent". Men play men and women. Lasts all day. Often deals with ghosts and supernatural things happening.

Pagaent Master

during the Middle Ages, one who supervised the mounting of mystery plays

Peking (of Beijing)

opera popular theatre of China that developed in the 19th century

Platform stage

elevated stage with no proscenium

Shadow play

a play performed widely in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia involving intricately carved flat leather puppets that create patterns of light and shadow when their image is projected on a screen

Vernacular Drama

drama from the Middle Ages that are performed int he everyday speech of the ppl and presented in town squares or other parts of the cities

Wagon Stage

Low platforms mounted on wheels or casters by means of which scenery is moved on and offstage

Bourgeois/domestic drama

Drama dealing with problems (family issues, usually) of middle or low-class people, can be serious or comedic


Satire of a serious form of literature. Can be like a variety show. Usually uses the actors in such a way to get a reaction from the audience...


Light in tone and subject matter, happy ending, sometimes marriage

Comedy of Manners

Form of comedic drama that became popular in 17th century France and the English Restoration, emphasizing a highly sophisticated atmosphere and witty dialogue

Comic Premise

an idea or concept in a comedy that turns the accepted notion of things upside down (I love Lucy).


dramatic genre usually with emphasis on plot complications and with few or no intellectual pretensions

Heroic Drama

Serious yet optimistic drama, with noble characters in extreme situations/unusual adventures


Made popular in 19th century. Stock characters, clearly defined villain and hero, special effects, emphasized action


using wit/irony/exaggeration to attack and expose folly and vice


physical comedy

Theatre of the Absurd

characters stuck in hopeless situations in which they have to do meaningful, repetitive tasks, full of cliches and bizarre things. Nonsense. Futility of existence/all that is absurd

Tragedy (drama)

serious actions of universal significance and with important moral and philosophical implications...usually with an unhappy ending


during the Renaissance, was a play with tragic themes and noble characters but with a happy ending. Today, serious and comic elements are simply combined.


Aristotle says it is the best way to make a play- a sequence of events linked by cause and effect, w/ beginning, middle and end.


the bad guy

Climactic/Intensive Structure

Dramatic structure in which there are few scenes, a short time passes, there are few locales, and the action begins chronologically close to the climax


the high point of action in the play

Commedia dell'arte

form of comic theatre, originating in 16th century Italy, in which dialogue was improvised around a loose scenario calling for a set of stock characters


Introduction, in a play of a new force that makes things powerful, makes a delay happen when reaching the climax


tension between 2 or more characters


point within a play when the action reaches an important confrontation or takes a critical turn. In the tradition of the well-made play, a drama includes a series of crises that lead to the final crises, known as the climax

Deus ex machina

god from a machine," a resolution device in classic Greek drama... hence, intervention of supernatural forces- usually at the last moment- to save the action from its logical conclusion. In modern drama, an arbitrary and coincidental solution


conversation between characters in a play

Dominant trait

found in certain theatrical characters, one paramount trait or tendency that overshadows all others, etc.


good guy- the one the play is about.

representative characters

characters in a play who embody characteristics that represent an entire group


specifically ordered ceremonial event, often religious

stock character



minor plot within major overarching plot


young performer training in an Elizabethan acting company


small private compartment for a group of spectators built into the walls of traditional proscenium-arch and other theatres


it's the arch above the stage. the frame


gallery above the tavern int he back wall of the theatres of the Spanish golden age; the area where unescorted women sat


full-length, 3-act nonreligious play of the Spanish golden age

Companias de parte

acting troupes int he Spanish golden age, organized according to a sharing system


theatre of the Spanish golden age, suually locate dint he courtyard of a series of adjoining buildings


in theatre buildings, the undivided seating area cut into the walls of the building

groove system

system in which tracks on the stage floor and above the stage allowed for the smooth movememt of flat wings onto and off the stage; usually there were a series of grooves at each stage position


member of an Elizabethan acting troupe who was paid a set salary and was not a shareholder


comic pieces of business used repeatedly by characters in Italian commedia dell'arte


Lavish, spectacular court entertainment primarily during the late English Renaissance

Neoclassical Ideals

Rules developed by critics during the Italian Renaissance, supposedly based on the writings of Aristotle


In the theatre of the Spanish golden age, the pit area for the audience


Illusion of depth in painting, introduced into scene design during the Italian Renaissance


floor of the House in Renaissance theatres. It was originally a standing area; by the end of the 18th century, backless benches were added in most countries

Pole and chariot

Giacomo Torelli's mechanized means of changing sets made up of flat wings

Private theatres

indoor theatres in Elizabethan England

Public theatres

outdoor theatre in Elizabethan England


in Elizabethan acting troupes, members who received part of the profits as payments


Script containing only a single performer's lines and cues. Elizabethan actors learned their roles from siders

Tiring House

Elizabethan stage house


term referring to the preference that a play's plot occur within one day (unity of time), in one place (unity of place), and with no action irrelevant to the plot (unity of action).

Yard Pit

standing area in Elizabethan public theatres


Comic male servants in Italian commedia dell'arte

Arena stage/theater-in-the-round

stage completely surrounded by the audience. think gladiator

fly loft

space above the stage where scenery may be lifted out of sight by means of ropes and pulleys

fourth-wall convention

pretense that in a proscenium-arch theater the audience is looking into a room through an invisible fourth wall

multifocus theatre

when the professor was talking about that play in a firehouse, and how they'd move the audience around for different scenes

multimedia theatre

use of electronic media- like slides, film, videotape, etc in live theatrical presentations


an upward slope of the stage floor away from the audience. also, to position scenery on a slant or at an angle other than parallel or perpendicular to the curtain line


operation of a show, also the length of time a production is performed

thrust stage

theatre space in which the audience sits on three sides of the stage

Artistic director

person responsible for all creative and artistic acrivities for resident and repertory companies


the person who makes all the other lower-directors and managers and actors get along


literary manager or dramatic adviser of a theatre company

front of the house

all the stuff that relates to the audience's experience outside of the theatre space, like the lobby, seating, box office, etc


rate at which a performance is played; also, to play a scene or an entire event to determine its proper speed


pays for the play! has some role in the contents of the play


like a dress rehearsal except they don't need to be dressed up necessarily


in the Stanislavaski method, a character's dominant desire or motivation; usually thought of as an action and expressed as a verb

stage manager

person who does all the rehearsals and runs the actual shows

stage picture

visual composition; how an entire scene onstage will appear to the audience

technical rehearsal

rehearsal at which all the design and technical elements are brought together

Ballad Opera

18th-century English form that burlesqued opera

Box set

Interior setting using flats to form the back and side walls and often the ceiling of a room

Comedy of manners

Form of comic drama that became popular in 17th century France & the English Restoration, emphasizing a cultivated or sophisticated atmosphere and witty dialogue

Drame (DRAHM)

18th century French term usually denoting a serious drama that dealt with middle-class characters


When important info. is shared w/ the audience, that isn't shown thru action on stage, so that the audience understands what's going on/past of a character


Richard Wagner's theory of a unified work of theatrical art


Dramatic form, made popular in the 19th century, which emphasized action and spectacular effects and also used music; it had stock characters and clearly defined villains and heroes

Minstrel Show

Type of 19th century production featuring white performers made up in blackface, about slave plantation life (an idyllic version of it). Started with white men, but then black men joined in, too, still blackened their faces

Regisseur (ray-zhee-SUHR)

Continental European term for a theatre director; it often denotes a dictorial director

Repertory, repertoire

Acting company that at any given time can perform a number of plays alternately; also, the plays regularly performed by a company


Movement of the 19th century that sought to free the artist from rules and considered unfettered inspiration the source of all creativity

Storm and stress

Antineoclassical 18th century German movement that was a forerunner of romanticism; in German, "Sturm and Drang.

Well-made play

Dramatic form popular in the 19th century and early 20th century that combined apparent plausibility of incident and surface realism with a tightly constructed plot


Bertolt Brecht's theory that, in his epic theatre, audiences' emotional involvement should be minimized to increase their intellectual involvement with the political message


Meyerhold's theory that a performer's body should be machinelike and that emotion could be represented externally, from the outside-in, rather than from inside-out


Post-World War 1 scene-design movement in which sets- frequently composed of ramps, platforms, and levels- were nonrealistic and were intended to provide greater opportunities for physical action


Movement in art between the world wars, based on presenting the irrational and attacking traditional artistic values

Epic theatre

Form of episodic drama associated with Bertolt Brecht and aimed at the intellect rather than the emotions


Movement in Germany at about the time of World War 1, characterized by an attempt to dramatize subjective states through distortion; striking, often grotesque images; and lyric, unrealistic dialogue


Art movement, begun in Italy about 1909, which idealized mechanization and machinery


Special form of realism developed in Europe in the late 19th century; it was not carefully plotted or constructed but was meant to present a "slice of life

Stanislavaki System

Konstantin Stanislaviski's techniques and theories about acting, which promote a naturalistic style stressing (among other things) "inner truth" as opposed to conventional theatricality


Departure from realism that attempted to present dramatically the working of the subconscious


Movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century that sought to express inner truth rather than represent life realistically

Theatre of Cruelty

Antonin Artaud's visionary concept of a theatre based on magic and ritual, which would liberate deep, violent, and erotic impulses


Exposing the elements of theatre to make the audience members aware that they are watching theatre

Unit set

Single setting that can represent a variety of locales with the simple addition of properties or scenic elements


to create a costume from scratch in a costume shop

Costume Designer

The person responsible for the appearance of each performer onstage


Front of the stage toward the audience


Single piece of flat, rectangular scenery, used with other similar units to create a set

Fly loft

Space above the stage where scenery may be lifted out of sight by means of ropes and pulleys

Ground plan

Blueprint or floor plan of stage design that outlines the various levels on the stage and indicates the placement of scenery, furniture, doors, windows, and other necessary scenic elements

Left stage

Left side of the stage from the point of view of a performer facing the audience


Properties; objects that are used by performers onstage or are necessary to complete a set


to choose a costume from an inventory owned by a theatre company


Broadly, an attempt to present onstage people and events corresponding to those in everyday life

Right stage

Right side of the stage from the point of view of a performer facing the audience


Thin, open-weave fabric which is nearly transparent when lit from behind and opaque when lit from the front

Technical Director

Person who oversees all technical aspects of a theatre production, especially the building, painting, an dinstallation of scenery and related elements


At or toward the back of the stage, away from the front edge of the stage


Low platform mounted on wheels or casters by means of which scenery is moved on- or offstage

Automated Lights (moving lights)

Generic term for a new type of lighting instrument that can tilt, pan, rotate, change colors, and change focus- all electronically by computerized remote control


Lighting that comes from behind


Pipe or long pole suspended horizontally above the stage, upon which scenery, drapery, or lights may be hung


Total darkening of the stage


How lighted areas are arranged onstage relative to each other


Any prearranged signal, such as the last words in a speech, a piece of business, or any action or lighting change, that indicates to a performer or stage manager that it is time to proceed to the next line of action


Device for changing lighting intensity smoothly and at varying rates


Lighting that comes from directly overhead

Environmental Sounds

Noises from everyday life that provide background sound in a production


Slow dimming of lights, changing from brighter to darker, or vice versa


Aiming light on a particular area of the stage


Lighting instrument used for large or general area lighting

Follow spot

Large, powerful spotlight with a sharp focus and narrow beam that is used to follow principal performers as they move about the stage

Fresnel (fruh-Nel)

Type of spotlight used over relatively short distances with a soft beam edge that allows the light to blend easily with light from other sources; also, the type of lenses used in such spotlights


Template in a theatre lighting instrument that determines the shape and arrangement of the beam or pool of light thrown by the instrument. For example, a pattern created by a gobo or template could result in stripes, leaves on trees, the outline of a windowpane, or the like

Light plot

Detailed outline or diagram showing where each lighting instrument is placed in relationship to the stage

Motivated sounds

Sounds called for in the script that usually come from recognizable sources


term used in theatre lighting when a beam of light from a lighting instrument is placed in relationship to the stage


Amplification of sounds in the theatre


The use of motivated or environmental sounds


Term in theatre lighting used when a beam of light from an instrument moves vertically, up and down


Spoken (as opposed to sung) portion of the text of a musical play


satire of a serious form of literature

Environmental Theatre

Branch of avant-garde theatre stressing the environment in which a performance takes place


Term applied to plays illustrating a philosophy whose modern advocate was Jean-Paul Sartre and which holds that there are no longer any fixed standards or values


Nonliterary or unscripted theatrical event using a scenario that allows for chance occurrences


Use of electronic media, such as slides, film, and videotape, in live theatrical presentations

Musical theatre

Broad category that includes opera, operetta, musical comedy, and other musical plays (sometimes called lyric theatre)

Poor theatre

Term coined by Jerzy Grotowski to describe his theatre, which was stripped to the bare essentials

Performance art

Experiemental theatre that initially incorporated elements of dance and the visual arts. Since performance art often is based on the vision of an individual performer or director rather than a playwright, the autobiographical monologue has become a popular performance art form.


A contemporary concept suggesting that artists and audiences have gone beyond the modernist movements of realism and hte various departures from realism