deus ex machina
"God from a machine;" when the gods jump in at the end of a play to solve the plot; found in Greek tragedies, especially Euripides; cheap ending
Italian Renaissance comedy where each actor has a stock character and they improvise based on their characters
high profile for-profit theater in NYC, 500+ seats, increased production costs lead to conservative approach b/c investment groups are the ones funding shows, money goes toward the space/actors/director/engineers
smaller-scale for-profit theater in NYC, 100-499 seats, used to be experimental but are now part of the establishment
professional, not-for-profit theaters, funded through grands such as the NEA and Ford Foundation, offer actors long-term contracts, subsidies allow more daring choices
invisible wall separating the actor from the audience, the curtain on a Proscenium stage
when the thoughts of all the audience members match up; ex. people are more likely to laugh at a comedy when other people are around; ex. one person does a standing ovation, everyone eventually stands; only happens in theatre
"picture-frame stage;" fourth wall stage; audience sits directly in front of stage, arch separates the stage environment from auditorium; began to appear in Renaissance Europe as plays moved indoors
Russian actor/director (1863-1938), developed the foundation of realistic acting used today, intellectual and scientific as opposed to being emotional, came up with the magic "if" (what would I do in this situation) and "objective" (what is the character's goal in this scene)
director who doesn't follow the writer's intentions but rather makes the text serve their own purposes
the character who drives the plot of the play
the character who directly opposes the protagonist
the conflict; the time-frame is the exact duration of the play; what happens on stage during the play; ex. Fire in the Basement literally takes place over an hour for the characters and the play itself takes an hour
a type of plot structure where time moves in all directions, forward, laterally, backward, flashbacks, flashforwards; ex. Jelly's Last Jam
how the plot of the play is organized; can be linear/climatic or episodic
A radical adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler in which half the roles are "played" by robots; directed by an auteur-director
Shakespeare's theatre in England; located in a bad part of town, next to bear-baiting pit; tickets were cheap; theatre was a low-class form of entertainment; prostitutes attended this theatre
a person whose job it is to write for newspapers or periodicals; they review live productions, write briefly, on short deadlines; requires little experience/education; they're doing a "public service"
French playwright/actor; write satirical plays; died on stage; had to buried secretly cause he didn't want his family to know he was an actor; actors in France couldn't have a Christian burial
Actors' Equity Association ("AEA" or "Equity"), founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 48,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
The Laramie Project
play by Tectonic Theater Project about Matthew Shepard murder in Laramie, Wyoming.; they do contemporary improvisation and experimentation plays
non-musical theatre; actually very uncommon in other places; theatre without music and dance doesn't exist in the rest of the world
type of show that was one of the forerunners of the modern musical; type of show involving music and dancing where white performers wore black face
"anything works" shows; forerunner to the modern musical; a type of show where performers would do whatever kept the audience entertained
first book-musical; 1927; an American creation
Rodgers & Hammerstein
the leaders of the Golden Age of American musicals (1943-1959); directed "Oklahoma!", "The Sound of Music", "The King and I"; directed optimistic plays with pop songs;
Agnes de Mille
a director during the Golden Age of musicals who had musicals with songs that were more integrated, stories more complete, dance that moved the story forward
the process of taking a show that was successful in the past and bringing it back; play is brought back either because #1. the director has a new idea for it, or #2. cause it's guaranteed to make money; ex. "Oklahoma!", "Bye Bye Birdie"; done
a musical where the show's metaphor or statement is more important than the actual narrative; introduced in the 1940s, but became more popular in the 60s; ex. "Pinball Wizard"
Transformed the urban landscape around Times Square; Used to be a haven of live nude shows and sex shops, but not anymore, cause Disney wants it to be safe for parents and kids to come to the musical; They like to adapt things that have already been proven to work; See also: Xanadu, The Producers, Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, Hairspray, Young Frankenstein, etc.
a type of Broadway musical that takes a collection of popular songs from a popular band and tries to make a story/musical around them; ex. "American Idiot"
a musical about a young, African American musician (the Youth) travels on a picaresque journey to find "the real"; musical was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in 2004 and 2005,
part of Aristotle's theory of comedy; his idea that humor came from a deformity, deviation, excess, or abnormality that was ok to laugh about
given social order
comedy must assume what behavior are normal/average/typical/correct in order for someone to have abnormal and excessive, humorous traits
ambiguity between similar-sounding words; used in comedy
misuses of words; mistaking a word for another word; ex. "What is this, the Spanish Exposition?" a comedic device
a comedic drama in which there is lots of physical comedy; lots of timing of entrances and exists (lots of doors onstage); many misunderstandings, often sexual in nature
An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues
Macabre, ominous ideas; Plays on tropes of horror films; Turns comedy into seriousness; Takes social instutions and turns them on their heads
classical tragedies in which fate is very important; the universe is either indifferent to human suffering or it causes the suffering; star-crossed lovers; inescapable circumstances; focused on upper-class characters and kings
mostly lectured about tragedy, only hinting at comedy; came up with the idea of the "painless deformity"
an analytical piece written by Aristotle; said that tragedy is made of suffering, pity, and fear; talks about how theatre is different than literature; calls theatre "imitation" with a built-in teaching function cause people learn by imitating; argues that all theatre "delights and instructs"; was a counterattack to Plato's "Republic"
"the mistake" in Greek; mean that the character in the story must make a grave mistake; term coined by Aristotle as one of his requirements for tragedy in "Poetics"
a type of drama with oversimplified morals; clear-cut good and bad guy (think Disney movies); can end tragically or happily; usually contain sensation scenes
a type of scene usually found in a melodrama were a visual spectacle is put on to keep an uneducated audience entertained; ex. villain ties heroine to train tracks.
a type of tragedy that usually has a happy ending, a serious ending, but a happy one; tends to be more of a serious drama than a tragedy; focuses more on middle class, domestic characters
"Tragedy and the Common Man"
essay written by Arthur Miller; argues that tragedy may also depict ordinary people in domestic surroundings
a model of the set that gives director & construction crew a general idea of what they need to build
handheld items and furniture that goes on stage; used by the actors; called 'props' for short
weights backstage that are used to balance the weight of what is being flown in and out
simulated walls used on stage
step units used on stage to create levels on stage that the actors can stand on
any type of scenery on stage that is raised or lowered onto the stage; includes flying in scenery or actors; uses the counterweight system
a costume that is taken from storage that has been used in another play; used in low-budget plays because it saves money
a costume rented from a costume renting place; not as expensive as built costume but not as cheap as pulled costume
a costume that is built from the ground up; assembled specifically for the play; most expensive and most labor intensive
the first stage in the process of getting actors ready to perform the actual play; involves fitting actors into their costumes
changes made at the last minute to fit the play; can be made all the way up until a few days before opening night
An older practice not in favor now, in which actors in costume paraded across the stage and were assessed by the director and production team.
rehearsal where actors are in full costume and make-up; usually done closer to opening-night
They act as the Costume Designer's assistant and are their 'eyes and ears'. They translate the designer's 2D drawings into 3D, sample the fabrics, choose and contact makers and control the budget. They help the designer make stock selections and organise and attend fittings, taking photographs and making notes. They make sure that everything is accessorised properly. With the Designer they have to keep the artists happy and attend tech rehearsals and production meetings.
used in the 1800s; first type of stage lighting to ever be used; installed in London; it was principal source of illumination cause it could increased or dimmed, but it was dangerous because there was constantly a threat of fire
an architectural blueprint used specifically by theatrical lighting designers to illustrate and communicate the lighting design to the director, other designers and finally the Master Electrician and electrics crew. The light plot specifies how each lighting instrument should be hung, focused, colored, and connected
any change in lighting during the play, no matter how slight
control panels which allow light intensity to be changed smoothly
gelatins used to cover lights
any light source controlled by a performer on stage; includes candles, flashlights, lamps, etc.
when one lighting instrument decreases in intensity while another simultaneously increases; meant to make the human eye follow the movement and re-direct attention using light
a splotlight operated by a technician during the show; usually used in musicals
"modern" dance-drama in India; dance drama has been going on there for at least 200 years; characterized by thick green makeup
nickname given to the world's largest motion-picture industry, which is located in India; this type of film in India has almost caused the death of theatre
a theatre in Palestine; an arts complex hosting a theatre and cinema. They do children's theatre and adult theatre, and also host international touring groups
"national theatre" of Israel, but actually predates the political state of Israel; They perform plays from Israel and elsewhere
"In the theatre's productions - original Israeli plays and plays from world drama - emphasis is placed on social, value and political issues that are at the center of the Israeli public's life. Even the classical plays included in the Cameri's repertoire are selected for their subjects' being close to our heart and on our public's agenda." They perform in Hebrew, but some of the performances feature English supertitles
Nobel Prize-winning playwright from Nigeria; trained to write plays in a "western" style (for which he has been criticized by other African playwrights); He has been in and out of favor with the Nigerian government because his plays have frequently discussed corruption at the official level. His plays are frequently performed in England and the United States.
De la Guarda
director & theorist from Brazil; wrote book "Theater of the Oppressed" which said that theatre establishes a separation between audience and performers; this is oppressive because it makes the audience passive so they can't control what goes on stage
a public performance improved by actors; actors will come to a public place and devise a performance based on a concern in the community; spectators can control the action on stage
a type of theater that must take place outside a theater because the audience should never realize that it's watching a performance; takes place in public
Theatre de Soleil
one of the world's most critically acclaimed theatre companies
one of the largest theatre festivals in the world and is a major venue for European theatre companies to show off their work
member of the Royal Shakespeare Company but moved to Paris in 1970 to form the International Center for Theatre Research, a performing ensemble in search of a "universal" theatrical storytelling language. Brook and the actors traveled the world, learning techniques in different cultural settings.
Royal Shakes Co.
nationally funded British theater company; well-funded and full of talented specialists; job is to produce Shakespeare plays, but they also serve as a training facility; tickets are cheaper because of government subsidization
Hrosyltha of Gandersheim
first female dramatist we can name; she was a nun, not a professional; she had access to plays from Ancient Rome; Germany 935-973 CE
In Elizabethan England (Shakespeare's era), women weren't allowed to perform onstage. Shakespeare's female roles were performed by teenage boys, and there were actually academies that trained boys to play these roles. It was an entrenched industry.
first female actors were unfortunately considered sex objects, and their talent was overlooked. Nell Gwyn, pictured above, was famous for being a mistress of Charles II, but she is considered one of the great comedic talents in the history of the English stage.
name for Spanish theatre stages; women were allowed in, but only allowed to sit up in the boxes called cazuelas
first woman to write plays professionally; a professional nun and an amateur playwright; she wrote plays about womens roles in society
current American female playwright; wrote "Vagina Monologues" and "The Good Body;" also did charity work in women's prisons
female director of the big Broadway productions like "The Lion King" and "Spiderman"
Anna Deavere Smith
famous female performance artist who has done solo documentary work called "Fires in the Mirror"; also did "Twilight: Los Angeles"
avant-garge, cutting-edge. Experimental North American company; has existed for 30 years; they usually do mashups
the idea that every style has already been tried, and what is left for artists to do is to "comment" on the styles of previous periods, borrowing and combining what is interesting or meaningful to them; a play doesn't have to communicate to everyone, and a play doesn't have to produce the same emotional response in every audience member to be a success; must make up for marginalized classes including gays & lesbians
postmodern term for 'collage;' is a play that uses dialogue or storylines from existing well-known plays. Some prefer to call this "theft" or "appropriation." I think that artists would consider this "borrowing;" ex. Heddatron
director & founder of multimedia theatre group ExMachina (in Canada); frequently combining live performance with projections and digital media.
Angels in America
play by Tony Kushner; postmodern; deals with being gay and conflicts in neglected religious minorities; "identity politics" are plays talking about how only people of certain identities can experience certain things
Nine Parts of Desire
performance artist Heather Raffo went to Iraq and interviewed Iraqi women, portraying nine of them in this 2004 play; making money off of people's suffering; exploitative?
My Visit to Al-Qaeda
a performance artist piece by Lawrence Wright conducted over 500 face-to-face interviews with Al Qaeda members, and various people connected to them; making money off of people's suffering; exploitative?
Playwright, director, theorist; who believed in the "Theatre of cruelty";; Physical, spiritual theatre; Don't separate the audience from the play; surround them with it; make them a part of the action
George C. Wolfe
director/writer of "Jelly's Last Jam"
co-director/writer of Sizwe Bansi is Dead; initials AF
Sizwe Bansi is Dead
British writer of "Our Country's Good"
Our Country's Good
play adapted from the Thomas Keneally novel The Playmaker. The story concerns a group of Royal Marines and convicts in a penal colony in New South Wales, in the 1780s, who put on a production of The Recruiting Officer.
author of "Six Degrees of Separation"
Six Degrees of Separation
a play about a black con man who tries to convince people that he's related to the famous playwright who wrote Cats; takes advantage of people
writer of "Oleanna"
a play about a crazy female college student who ruins her professors life by accusing him of sexual abuse
author of "Fire in the Basement"
Italian writer of "Six Characters in Search of"
Six Characters in Search of an Author
a play about six characters showing up and asking a director to direct them; the actions and behaviors of the characters start becoming so real that the director can no longer tell if it's real or not
Pultzer Prize winner of "Topdog/Underdog"
The play chronicles the adult lives of two African American brothers, Lincoln and Booth, as they cope with women, work, poverty, gambling, racism, and their troubled upbringings.
an early Baroque opera about how Orfeo goes down to the underworld to save his lover Euridice
wrote the music for "L'Ofeo"
author of adaptation of "Coram Boy"
wrote the book for "Baby"
an American songwriter and the composer of stage musicals, film and television scores; did the music for "Baby"
wrote the lyrics for "Baby"
the overall narrative; might not be shown on stage, but is implied
also known as 'linear'; a type of plot structure where time passes normally and moves forward; part of "Linear" structure; all action leads to the play's climax.
a person whose job it is to write in-depth analyses on plays in academic journals; intros to plays in anthologies; requires graduate education
solo work written, performed, and directed by the same individual