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Set design and Staging (production elements)
Terms in this set (30)
A curtain which, when lit correctly, is translucent (or see through). This can allow a director to have a split stage, with an important scene foregrounded at the front, and a less important scene occurring behind. Gauzes can be solid when lit in a certain way, and you can project images or footage onto them.
Upright pieces of stage scenery. They are usually made of wood and can be painted to look like walls or whole buildings. Sometimes a stage weight is needed to brace them, so they don't fall over, though they can be self-supporting.
The wall or screen which stands at the back of the performance space. A backdrop can be painted to become part of the set, hidden by a curtain or used to project footage onto.
Raised platforms on which performers can stand, often placed on stage and connected together in groups to create different levels. A single platform is called a rostrum.
Sometimes called a cyc. This is a large curtain, sheet or screen on which lighting or images can be projected. Often used as a backdrop, sometimes concave in shape. Similar to a gauze.
A non-naturalistic approach to set design where scaffolding is used to create levels and shapes for performers, without painting scenery or flats. Using a scaffolding shell can feel very minimalistic, exposing the 'guts' of the theatre.
Objects used by actors onstage. If they are only used by one particular actor or character, they are called 'personal props'.
A 'split screen' stage where two different scenes or dialogues occur at the same time.
The areas to the side of the stage, where actors can wait to come on. They are usually hidden from the audience's view.
Where the stage space extends into the audience, so that they are placed on three sides of it.
The part of a proscenium arch stage which extends in front of the arch and its curtain.
Towards the front of the stage, and nearest to the audience.
The name given to the arch which separates the stage from the audience. It literally means 'in front of the scenery'.
Name given to a drama which is performed anywhere other than a standard theatre, such as a park or an abandoned warehouse. Often, the choice of site is connected to the narrative; for example, a pirate story being performed on a ship.
The actor's left; the audience's right.
The actor's right; the audience's left.
When the performance space is surrounded on all sides. The most powerful fixed position for an actor is the vom, a staircase where they will have their back to the majority of the audience.
theatre in the round
A stage layout where the audience sits on two sides of the stage facing each other, like a fashion show catwalk. There will be set and voms at either end.
Towards the back of the stage, furthest away from the audience.
Furniture used onstage as part of the set. Stage furniture kind of falls between being props and part of the set. Think about how your use of furniture will affect the blocking (use of stage space), and how it can be exploited by actors to create different body shapes and groupings.
A designer's choice of materials, colours and textures is very deliberate, and should work with the actors and other production elements to create atmosphere and meaning. Choice of materials and textures can be highly symbolic, e.g. a wooden scaffold reflecting 17th century farm houses built by hand.
textures, materials and colours
An indoor space. Don't forget that many plays feature scenes which will be set indoors and outdoors. Think about how you could design a set which would be suitable for both.
An outdoor space.
Aims to reflect reality as closely as possible, and convince the audience that the setting is authentic.
naturalistic set design
Uses space, shape, colour, textures and materials to represent a setting rather than relying on copying reality. These style of sets can use shape, colour, textures, etc. to create atmosphere and point to the key themes, ideas and emotions in a play.
symbolic set design
A non-naturalistic set where several different locations are represented within the same space. The different locations or settings are often isolated or highlighted using lighting.
Adaptable sets are spaces which can be changed quickly to show different locations. They often have a simple overall design so lots of different settings, moods and atmospheres can be created.
The way space is used to present a play. When writing on staging in the exam, focus on where the audience are seated, entrances and exits and the use of space such as levels, distances and directions.
The way that a space is made to look like a certain place. When writing on set design in the exam, focus on the elements you add to the space such as gauzes, backdrops, scaffolding shells etc.
A diagram of a set design from above.
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