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Theatre Quiz #2 Vocabulary


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The placement and movement of the actors on stage moment by moment, usually planned by the director
A type of improvised performance that emerged in Italy during the 16th century.
Commedia dell 'Arte
In the Middle Ages, a series of short plays dramatizing events drawn from the Bible, often extending from the Creation to Doomsday
Cycle Plays
Performance that achieves a sense of mutual support and overall unity, as opposed to one that seems merely a collection of individual actors
ensemble playing
a type of medieval drama that treated the spiritual trials of ordinary persons, usually an allegory about the temptations besetting all human beings
morality play
the set of rules, conventions, and beliefs that dominated much drama and theatre from the Renaissance to the end of the 18th century. (tragedy and comedy, never mixed) plays written in 5 acts, observe the unities, and uphold poetic justice in their endin
both actors are on a line and at quarter position
sharing a scene
when an actor stands upstage of another actor. this is considered very bad manners and should only be done when the director directs you to assume such a position for a dramatic effect
turn toward the audience
open up
turn away from the audience
close up
like open up except it is smaller movement, hopefully so the audience won't notice
to deliberately hide an action from the audience
this means that after your partner has moved, you try to get in a position that is on a line with him. This is common courtsey so you won't upstage him
dressing the stage
turning toward the audience as you turn
stage turn
turning as you normally would making no special efforts to stay open
natural turn
what we want the audience to center their attention on. it may be an actor, a motion he makes or a particular word
what a character wants in a particular scene
the best objectives are active ones- things that actively, usually physically, can be done
active objective
the methods the character uses to get their objective
what the actor is literally doing- washing their hair, eating an apple, etc
how much something matters to a character.
the stakes
saying one thing and acting another
playing against the line
there are 2 uses of this term. one is a "pause" as in "take a beat before saying that". the other use means a mini-scene or "bit". after we break large scenes into mini-scenes, each mini-scene is called a "bit".
using a known experience to portray an unknown one- using the memory of a bad splinter in portraying getting stabbed
what happens to the character off-stage the moment before they enter
the moment before
the reaction when you see or hear something in a scene
discovery moment
often the most important moment for an actor- the moment when they change their mind, perphaps change direction
another important term. what makes your fellow actors choose to say or do something. often it is your job to motivate or "set up" another actor's actions or speech
the physical actions of an actor such as setting the table, etc.
laughing, smiling or in any way breaking out of what the character is doing
breaking character

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