Introduction to Theatre

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Introduction to
Theatre
Stages
Types of Stages
There are many types of stages.
We will be studying these four types:
1. Rake Stage
2. Proscenium Stage
3. Thrust Stage
4. Arena Stage
Rake Stage
• stage that slopes upward when moving away
from the audience
• led to the terms “downstage” and
“upstage”, which are now used to give stage
direction on stage
Proscenium Stage
• stage framed by an arch and a curtain to
separate the stage from the audience
Proscenium Theatre Space
Advantages
provides for
spectacle
focuses audience’s
attention most
acutely
heightens aesthetic
distance
Disadvantages
intimacy more
difficult to achieve
Thrust Stage
• stage that is
surrounded
by an
audience on
all sides
except one
Thrust Stage Space
Advantages
a compromise between
the proscenium and
arena stage
some intimacy
some spectacle
Western theatre written
for this space
Disadvantages
a compromise
between the
proscenium and
arena stage
some intimacy
some spectacle
Arena Stage
• stage that is
surrounded by
an audience on
all sides (also
called “theatre
in the round”)
Arena Theatre Space
Advantages
offers greater
intimacy
heightens audience’s
sense of community
demands economy in
design and
production
Disadvantages
Plays requiring
elaborate scenery
suffer
Areas of the
Stage
Areas of the Stage
• The specific names used when dealing
with the areas are dependant on what
type of stage you are dealing with.
• Not all names work in every situation!
Areas: Rake, Proscenium, & Thrust
• Named for the actor’s point of view
Areas: Arena
Most use the a clock face or a compass rose.
Either way you need to designate
where it starts.
Disclaimer:
The plays listed in the following slides
and our notes are not all of the
different types of plays and shows
which exist; just the ones we will be
studying over the course of this
semester.
Plays
What is a play?
Play: a story told in dialogue form by
actors on a stage for an audience
Dialogue: conversation between two
people (in the context of a play, book, or
movie)
Plays are classified by one of the following
categories: straight plays and musicals.
Musicals
Musical: a play that contains song, dance,
and dialogue
Musicals require the audience to accept
the idea that it normal for people to
randomly break into synchronized song
and dance. (usually whimsical in nature)
Example: “It Couldn’t Please Me More”
from Cabaret (Aka: The Pineapple Song)
Straight Plays
Straight play: a play that uses primarily
spoken words versus singing and
dancing to tell a story
Example: “The Crucible” by Arthur
Miller
Types of
Plays
Tragedy
Tragedy: play in which the main
character has a major flaw or is caught
in circumstances he must overcome, or
the flaw/circumstances will destroy
the character’s life.
Example: Romeo and Juliet by William
Shakespeare
Comedy
Comedy: play with usually a happy
ending and humorous treatment of
characters and situations.
Example: A Midsummer Night’s
Dream by William Shakespeare
Drama
Drama: play that considers serious
issues and suggests solutions; can
be both serious and funny
Example: “Ivanov” by Anton
Chekhov
Mystery
Mystery: a type of play that focuses on
a crime or situation that requires the
use of clues to figure out the solution
(not to be confused with Miracle
Plays); think Scooby Doo or Clue
Example: the stage adaptation of
Agatha Christie’s “And Then There
Were None”
Farce
Farce: a humorous play that entertains
through exaggerated, improbable, and
extravagant situations; focus is more on
the absurd than character development
Example: Japanese plays called “Kyōgen”
Theatre
Jobs
Categories
For the most part, theatre jobs can
be divided into two main
categories:
Performers
Technical Staff
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Performers
A performer is someone that showcases
their talent/skills in performances.
Performers include but are not limited
to: actors/actresses, musicians,
vocalists, dancers, and circus acts.
Technical Staff
The main jobs you
need to know in this
area are:
Producer
Director
Stage Manager
Theatre Manager
Design Staff
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Areas of Design:
Lighting
Sound
Makeup/Hair
Costuming
Scenery
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