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What do 'stage left' and 'stage right' mean?

Theatre Lingo

Pun Bandhu (Broadway Producer) gives expert video advice on: What do 'stage left' and 'stage right' mean?; In theatre, what is an 'apron'?; What is 'backstage'? and more...

What do 'stage left' and 'stage right' mean?

To understand "stage left" and "stage right" you really need to put yourself in the perspective of the actor, because it's completely reversed from if you're sitting in the "house." So, "stage left" is actually -- if you're sitting in the "house" -- it's when the actor moves to the right, and "stage right" is where the actor is moving to the left.

What is 'backstage'?

Backstage is where all of the chaos happens, no, it is a part where the audience never sees, it is a section of the theater that is not revealed to the audience.

What does 'blocking' mean?

Blocking is basically what is used to arrange or move the actors. For instance, a director will come in and block the actors.

What is a 'dress rehearsal'?

A dress rehearsal is what happens after weeks of rehearsals, when the show is put on its feet and all the elements are brought together, sometimes for the first time: the costumes, the scenery, the lighting. And usually, you're pretty close to having a full production when you're at the dress rehearsal stage.

In theatre what does the 'house' mean?

The "house" actually refers to, or could refer to two things. It could refer to the actual physical theatre. It could also refer to the audience members who are inside the auditorium.

What is a 'cue to cue' rehearsal?

A cue-to-cue happens when all of the light cues have already been programmed onto the sound or the light boards and they just want to sort of...They don't have to go through every single scene and fix this light or change that light. Things are pretty much in place and so you can sort of jump from scene to scene and go from cue to cue.

What is a 'raked stage'?

A raked stage is something that's actually found more in Europe than it is here in America. American stages are dominantly flat stages. But, a raked stage is when the stage slopes upwards from the footlights so that everyone in the audience can see the actors in the back as well.

What is 'upstage' and 'downstage'?

Again, you have to put yourself in the perspective of the actor. "Upstage" is when the actor is moving away from the audience moving up the stage, and "downstage" is when the actors are moving down the stage towards the audience.

What is 'TKTS'?

TKTS is a fantastic service that's been set-up by the Theater Development Fund (TDF) and you can find out more about it at tdf.org. But essentially what it does is, it allows audience members to purchase tickets for 50 percent off Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals. That serves producers as well, because if you have a show that hasn't sold out, once that ship sails you know there's no way you can get that ticket sale back, so it's beneficial to producers to at least get half-price for that ticket. Of course, you're not going to find the biggest hits at the TKTS board. There are two locations in Manhattan, there's one at the South Street Seaport, which not a lot of people know about, you don't have to wait in long lines for that one and the more popular one which is in Midtown Manhattan.