ABSURD THEATRE        Tragic farces in which human existence is seen to be pointless.
ALIENATION Audiences are constantly reminded that they are watching "make-believe".
ARENA STAGE               The audience sit most of the way around the acting area.
ASIDE     A short speech made to the audience not heard by other characters.
AUDIENCE The people who come to watch the performance.
BLACK COMEDY Humorous drama with tragic elements in it – a bleak, comic view of life.
CARICATURE A character where one main aspect is exaggerated.
CHARACTER The imaginary person that the actor pretends to be on stage.
COMEDY A humorous, entertaining play with a happy ending.
COSTUMES The clothes that actors wear on stage to help portray their characters.
CUE A signal to begin action or dialogue.
DOWNSTAGE A movement or area toward the audience.
DUOLOGUE A scene for two actors.
EXPOSITION Information given through dialogue explaining events leading up to the action.
FARCE Very comic situations pushed beyond the bounds of belief. Complicated and confused.
FREEZE To keep absolutely still and motionless.
GENRE A known type of play which includes standard conventions, eg farce, musical, tragedy.
GESTURE A movement, usually of the arm, that helps to express an idea or feeling.
HAND PROP A prop that can be easily handled. eg books, dishes, bags, glasses, etc.
IMPROVISATION A scene performed with little or no rehearsal.
INTONATION The upwards and downwards pattern of the voice – rising and falling.
MONOLOGUE A scene for one actor who speaks his or her thoughts aloud or talks to an imaginary character or directly to the audience.
NATURALISM A style of writing, acting and production that aims to reproduce real life exactly on stage.
NON-VERBAL THEATRE Theatre where language is less important and movement, mime and gesture are used to the full.
OPEN STAGE Acting area without a proscenium arch – no barriers between actors and audience.
PROSCENIUM ARCH An arch framing the stage which separates the actors and audience.
REALISM A style of writing, acting and production that aims for psychological truth but not reproducing real life.
REHEARSAL The process of practising the play until it is ready.
SATIRE Plays which mock or make fun of certain sections of society.
SCENE A fairly short piece of drama that forms one section of the whole.
SET The actual pieces of furniture, blocks, structures on the stage.
SETTING The imaginary place and time that the stage area represents.
SOLILOQUY A speech spoken by one character alone on stage.
SUB-TEXT The unspoken element in dialogue – the meaning behind the words.
SYMBOLISM A style of writing in which characters, situations and settings express more than they represent.
THEATRE-IN-THE-ROUND A form of staging where the audience surrounds the acting area.
THRUST STAGE A platform or acting area that juts out into the audience or auditorium.
TOTAL THEATRE A performance that includes all or most of the theatrical elements – music, dance, song, spectacle, special effects.
TRAGEDY A play where a main character declines in status to ultimate destruction, due to character flaws.
UPSTAGE A movement or area away from the audience.

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