Downstage – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Production Glossary

I. What is Downstage?

Downstage refers to the area of the stage that is closest to the audience. When actors are positioned downstage, they are more visible and can engage with the audience more effectively. This area is often considered the focal point of the stage and is where most of the action takes place. Downstage is typically located at the front of the stage, closest to the audience, while upstage is located at the back of the stage.

In theater, the term “downstage” is also used to refer to the act of moving towards the front of the stage. This movement can be used to draw attention to a particular character or action, or to create a sense of intimacy between the actors and the audience. Downstage movement is often used in conjunction with blocking, which is the arrangement and movement of actors on stage.

II. What is Blocking?

Blocking is the process of planning and choreographing the movements of actors on stage. This includes determining where actors will stand, sit, and move during a scene, as well as how they will interact with each other and with the set. Blocking is an essential part of the rehearsal process and helps to ensure that the actors’ movements are coordinated and effective.

Blocking is typically done by the director, who works closely with the actors to create a cohesive and visually appealing performance. The director will often use a stage diagram or model to map out the movements of the actors and to plan the overall staging of the scene. Blocking can also involve the use of props, set pieces, and lighting to enhance the visual impact of the performance.

III. What is Stage Left and Stage Right?

In theater, stage left and stage right are used to describe the sides of the stage from the perspective of the actors. Stage left is the side of the stage that is on the left when facing the audience, while stage right is the side of the stage that is on the right when facing the audience. These terms are used to help actors and crew members navigate the stage and communicate effectively during rehearsals and performances.

Stage left and stage right are important for ensuring that actors enter and exit the stage from the correct side, as well as for coordinating movements and interactions between actors. By using these terms, directors and actors can quickly and easily communicate about their positions on stage and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

IV. What is a Choreographer?

A choreographer is a person who is responsible for creating and coordinating the dance and movement sequences in a performance. Choreographers work closely with directors, actors, and dancers to develop choreography that enhances the overall production and helps to tell the story through movement. Choreography can include everything from simple dance routines to complex fight scenes and physical comedy.

Choreographers often have a background in dance or theater and may specialize in a particular style or genre of movement. They work closely with the director to understand the vision for the production and to create choreography that complements the themes and emotions of the play. Choreographers also work with the actors and dancers to teach them the movements and ensure that they are executed correctly and safely.

V. What is a Dress Rehearsal?

A dress rehearsal is a full run-through of a performance in which actors wear their costumes and makeup, and all technical elements of the production are in place. Dress rehearsals are typically the final rehearsals before a performance and are used to ensure that everything is ready for opening night. During a dress rehearsal, actors go through the entire show as if it were a real performance, including all scene changes, lighting cues, and sound effects.

Dress rehearsals are an important part of the rehearsal process and help to iron out any last-minute issues or problems before the show opens. They give the actors a chance to practice their entrances and exits, as well as their interactions with other cast members. Dress rehearsals also give the technical crew an opportunity to test all of the technical elements of the production and make any necessary adjustments before the performance.

VI. What is a Curtain Call?

A curtain call is the final bow or acknowledgment that actors take at the end of a performance. After the final scene of the play has been performed, the actors come back on stage to take a bow and thank the audience for their applause. Curtain calls are a traditional part of theater etiquette and are a way for the actors to show their appreciation for the audience’s support.

Curtain calls can vary in length and style, depending on the production and the preferences of the director. Some curtain calls may involve the entire cast coming on stage together, while others may feature individual actors taking bows. In some cases, the director or choreographer may also join the actors on stage for the curtain call. Curtain calls are a way for the actors to celebrate the end of a successful performance and to show their gratitude to the audience for their support.