Off-Broadway Improv & Musical Comedy Theater


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Extended Glossary of Theater Terms  P-Z            

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PA System The public address or any sound reinforcement system.

Pace The speed at which the story and action in a play runs.

Pad A electronic resistance device that reduces an audio signal by a set amount. Often used in sound desks to reduce a high level signal coming into a control channel.

Page A set of programmed scenes on, particularly, a semi-computerised lighting desk. As the desk may only have a limited number of scenes able to be accessed at one time, by using 'pages' the same fader or knob can access more than one scene, though normally not at the same time.

Pageant A narrow beam projector type lantern once used in England.

Pan 1) Movement of lighting from side to side. 2) Slang for Pancake.

Panatrope Large gramophone record player used in the 1940s and 50s. Specially designed for theatrical sound effects. It became so popular that stage managers used to write 'Pancue' in their prompt copy to denote a sound cue.

Pancake Basic make-up item, available in a range of shades, used the world over.

Panorama 1) Predecessor to the diorama developed in the late 18th century. 2) A bar running up and down stage (as opposed to across stage) to hold masking, scenery, or lighting. (From Greek 'Pan' = All and 'Horama' = View).

Parcan Type of lantern which holds a par lamp. The parcan is the basic lighting unit in concert lighting.

Parametric Equaliser An audio equaliser with separate control over the frequencies and levels being adjusted. Able to control groups of frequencies very accurately.

Par Lamp Type of globe with a parabolic reflector and sealed beam. Fits into a Par Can.

Par Bar Metal bar on which is hung a group of Par Cans - usually 4. Used to simplify lighting rigging - instead of each light having to be hung individually, groups can be attached.

Part An actor's part of the play is his or her lines and directions, the whole performance of an individual,

Patch 1) Verb - To connect a lantern or cable, to plug it in. 2) Noun - The Patch. See Patch Bay.

Patch Bay The main connection panel for the lighting or sound system, where all the elements are connected together.

Pattern Strand Electric's term for 'model', i.e. Pattern 23 light.

Peacocks In some parts of theatre these birds are considered harbingers of evil.

Pearl A lamp with a frosted, translucent envelope, giving a softer more diffuse light.

Peavey American manufacturer of a wide range of audio and musical equipment including sound desks and guitar amplifiers.

Pepper's Ghost The effect of a ghost on stage created in the 1860s by J. Pepper using glass as a reflector. Pepper's ghost was such a success that several plays were written especially to use the effect.

Period When all the facets of a production are carefully aimed towards representing a specific period in history.

Perch A lighting position concealed behind the proscenium.

PFL See Pre Fade Listen.

Phantom Power A way of sending a voltage, usually 48v DC, to a device such as a microphone down the same cable that carries the audio signal from the device. Many sound desks have phantom power facilities built in, or a separate unit can be inserted into the microphone circuit as required.

Phon Scientific unit of measure for sound loudness.

Piano Rehearsal Rehearsal for a musical show where the music is provided only by a pianist, to save calling the orchestra and incurring the additional cost.

Piggy Back Plug A type of 240 volt mains plug that also has a socket on the back to allow additional plugs to be added. Currently the sale of piggy backs is outlawed in Australia, much to chagrin of theatre technicians who have come to rely on them to simplify lighting patching systems.

Pin Microphone See Lavalier Microphone.

Pink Noise White noise that has been adjusted so that an equal amount of each signal can be heard.

Pin Patch A system of connecting the output channels of a lighting desk to different or groups of dimmers, using a matrix of holes and small metal pins.

Pin Spot 1) A small sealed beam light producing a small dot of light on stage. 2) A narrow focussed followspot used to pick out a small item on stage, perhaps the performer's face.

Pipe See Bar.

Pit See Orchestra Pit.

Pit Net A safety net over the Orchestra Pit to prevent injury to musicians or performers if someone or something should fall from stage.

Places Please See Beginners.

Plano-Convex An earlier, less efficient version of the Prism Convex lens.

Plate See Corner Plate.

Platform See Rostrum.

Platform Stage An elevated acting area that does not use a proscenium arch.

Plot 1) Any list of cues for effects used in the play. 2) The fundamental thread that runs through a story, providing the reason for the actions of the characters.

Plotting To program or determine the levels of each of the lighting dimmers in each scene or cue. Also Lighting Rehearsal.

PM See Production Manager.

Point Of Attack The moment in the story at which the writer decides to start the play's action.

Pole Operated Lanterns which have a small mechanical system that allows the tilt and pan to be altered using a metal rod. The rod hooks into a small cup or socket on the side of the lantern, and by turning the rod the alignment can be adjusted. Very useful as it means the operator does not have to be next to the lantern. Popular in film and television where time for re-focussing is limited between shots. (TV).

Pong To speak in blank verse after drying.

Post Mortem The session attended by cast and crew after a show to discuss problems. See Notes.

Practical Any object which must do onstage the same job that it would do in real life e.g. lamp post or telephone.

Pre Fade Listen A system on an audio unit, usually a mixer, by which the audio signal can be monitored by headphones without affecting the output of the mixer. Useful to check that an individual sound source is operating correctly without having to feed it out to the main speaker system.

Pre-Focus Type of lamp base, similar to the domestic bayonet cap, where, if the globe is inserted and turned correctly, it will be orientated properly to the lens and reflector.

Prelude Range of 650 watt lanterns by Strand Lighting.

Preparation The activities used by actors to prepare themselves for a performance.

Preset 1) Used to describe any article placed in its working area before the performance. 2) A basic lighting state that the audience sees before the action starts.

Preview A performance given before the official opening night, sometimes it is in fact the final full dress rehearsal. Tickets, if sold, are often cheaper as a way of building audience interest in the show.

Principals The actors in a show with the lead or speaking roles.

Print-Through When a reel of audio tape is left wound for some time, the magnetic sound image can transfer from one layer of tape to another.

Prism Convex A lens and lantern that provides a compromise between a focusable but hard edged profile spot and an non-focusable but soft edged fresnel lantern.

Producer The person responsible for raising the finance to stage a show and then generally running the business side.

Production Manager Abbrev. to PM. The senior member of the technical team, in control of staffing, budgets, and liaison with venues whilst on tour.

Profile Flat Alternative to the cut-out flat.

Profile Spot A spotlight which projects a profile or outline of any chosen shape and with any desired degree of hardness or softness of edge.

Prolight Australian lighting equipment manufacturer.

Prologue Speech given to the audience by an actor before the start of the play.

Prompt The person who, during the performance, feeds actors lines if they 'dry'. Usually from the down stage stage left position - hence Prompt Corner. In opera it was traditional for the prompt to be positioned with the head projecting through a small slit cut in the stage floor down stage centre, with a wooden hood or cover to mask the prompt person from the audience.

Prompt Book See Prompt Copy.

Prompt Copy Fully annotated copy of the play with all of the various production details, used by the Stage Manager during the performance to co-ordinate all the various technical and staging departments. Also Prompt Book.

Prompt Corner The down stage stage left corner of the stage. Known as Prompt Corner because that is the area where the Prompt, or Stage Manager, usually sits.

Prompt Side Abbrev. to PS. The left hand side of the stage as viewed by the cast facing the audience. Also Stage Left, Camera Right.

Properties Abbrev. to Props. Any item or article used by the actors other than scenery and costumes.

Props Table Table in convenient offstage area on which all props are left prior to use.

Proscenium Arch Abbrev. to Pros. The archway which separates the stage and the auditorium.

Proscenium Theatre Any theatre that has a proscenium arch.

Protagonist The main character in a play around whom most of the action is based.

Proximity Effect The difference in sound characteristics as a microphone is moved towards or away from a sound source. Generally a loss in bass response is experienced as the microphone is moved away. Often used by vocalists to add emphasis to their songs.

PS See Prompt Side.

Pulling Focus See Focus.

Punch Cards Computer punch cards were used for a short time to store lighting plot information for later playback, until superseded by storage devices utilising magnetic media such as cassette tape and floppy disks. One system, developed by Century Lighting in the USA, could handle two cards (or scenes) a second.

Push Up Small lighting stand used on stage, with a tripod base, usually just to lift one or two lanterns to the level required.

Put Together See Run Through. (US)

Pyrotechnics Any chemical effects used onstage or in the wings to create explosions or special effects.

Quarter Backstage pre-show call given 20 minutes before curtain up (15 minutes before beginners).

Radio Microphones Microphones that instead of being connected by a cable to the sound equipment, transmit the sound via a radio signal. This allows great flexibility on stage, and has meant performers can wear very small, hidden microphones whilst still retaining complete mobility. There are two main types - hand held, where the microphone and transmitter are contained in one unit, and lavalier or pin microphones, where, in order to reduce size, the microphone is connected to the transmitter pack by a short cable. The pack can then be concealed in a pocket, and the microphone positioned on the performer's clothing, or even in their hair, for maximum audio effect.

Rag Slang for the House Curtain.

Rail Bottom or top batten in a flat.

Rake The incline of a stage floor or seating area away from the horizontal. Originally introduced as a way of improving sightlines to the stage under poor lighting conditions last century.

Ray Can A lantern with no lens producing a near parallel beam of light and often used in lighting for concerts.

Readers Theatre Similar to a workshop piece, but without the analysis, where the cast read the play aloud with the script in hand and without gestures. (US).

Reflectors The shiny surfaces in the back of lanterns which help to intensify the beam.

Rehearsal The learning of the show by the cast and crew before public performance.

Repertory Abbrev. to Rep. A form of theatre production company, usually with a permanent company of actors, where each production has a run of limited length. At any time there is normally one production in performance, one in rehearsal, and several in varying degrees of planning.

Reserved Ticketing Ticketing for a performance in which the precise seat to be occupied by the patron is defined by row and number. The opposite is unreserved seating.

Resistive Ballast See Ballast.

Restore To recall a previously used lighting state later in the performance.

Return A flat or curtain leading off from another at right angles.

Reveal A small return surrounding an arch, window, or doorway to suggest depth and thickness.

Reversal A sudden about change in the plot or action on stage leading to an unexpected outcome.

Reverberation Abbrev. to Reverb. The effect of multiple sound waves reflecting off surfaces in a room.

Reverberation Unit Reverb unit - an audio signal processor that can duplicate the effect of a sound reverberating in a selectable range of room sizes and environments.

Revolving Stage A Revolve. A large turntable which turns the set so that, even though two or more scenes may be on the revolve, only one need be visible to the audience at a time.

Revox Brand of audio tape machines - the Revox Model B-77 is extremely popular in radio and theatre for replay of reel to reel tapes.

Ride It A technique of pacing and timing employed by an actor to handle laughter from the audience.

Rig 1) Noun - The lighting system as a whole, 'The Rig'. 2) Verb - To hang lanterns on bars and connect with cables. 3) Often used to describe putting together any part of the show e.g. Rigging the set.

Rigger's Control A remote control, either cordless or wired, which can adjust settings on the lighting control desk. Used for roaming around the stage or auditorium to focus or adjust lanterns.

Ring Intercom See Talkback.

Ripple Box A rippling light effect produced by a light mounted inside a revolving cylinder in which thin slots have been cut.

Ripple Tray The effect of light dancing on water produced by shining a light onto a shallow tray containing water. To speed up the effect a fan can be directed onto the tray to agitate the water.

Riser 1) See Rostrum. 2) The vertical part of a step. 3) The vertical parts of the concentric rings of a fresnel lens.

Road Case A strong, rigidly constructed, well padded case to protect equipment from the vagaries of touring. Also Flight Case.

Roller A mechanism for hanging canvas cloth.

Rosco American manufacturer of colour filter widely used in Australia, and a range of other lighting effects equipment including smoke machines and fog juice.

Rostrum A portable platform usually in the form of a collapsible hinged framework (gate rostrum) with a separate top. Used to raise specific parts of the action or scene.

Royalty The performance fee paid to the author of a script.

Run 1) A sequence of performances of the same show. 2) Horizontal width of a step. 3) See Run Through.

Run Through A rehearsal at which all the elements of the production are put together in their correct sequence. Sometimes shortened to 'Run'.

Runners A pair of curtains parting at the centre and moving horizontally.

Safety Chains Short length of chain with a clip on one end and used to secure lanterns to bars. Required by law in many places.

Sand Bag A canvas bag filled with sand used to secure and weight scenery on the stage.

Saturation The strength or darkness of a colour filter - a saturated colour filter is one which is as deep a colour as is possible without critically affecting the resultant light.

Saturation Rig An arrangement of lanterns in which the maximum number of lanterns is placed in every possible position.

Scatter The light outside the main beam of a spot light which is lower in intensity.

Scene 1) A stage setting. 2) The blocks or parts into which a play is divided. 3) A particular setting of stage lighting that can be reproduced on demand. Also State.

Scene Dock See Dock.

Scene Master See Sub-Master.

Scrim Finely woven fabric which can be translucent or opaque using lighting from different angles. Small pieces of a scrim material is often used in front of lanterns to soften the light beam.

Script The text of the show, also containing information about settings, characters, costumes etc. to aid the cast and crew.

Sealed Beam Lamp A lamp where the reflector, filament, and lens are contained in one sealed package. Virtually unable to be focussed except for pointing in the right direction.

Section See Elevation.

Segue Originally a musical term for an immediate follow on, now used more generally for any immediate follow on.

Selecon New Zealand theatre lantern manufacturer.

Semaphore Colour Changer A type of remote control colour changer that can be fixed to a range of different lanterns. Operates very much like the colour changers used on follow spots, only can be controlled remotely.

Semi-computerised Lighting Desk A lighting desk that combines a conventional manual control system with some computerised elements. Each channel still has an individual control fader, but the desk can handle scene recording and playback, and other such functions.

Send An output from an audio desk independent of the main outputs. Used to connect equipment like effects units etc. Also Auxiliary Send.

Sequence A series of lighting states and lighting changes that can be recalled on demand.

Set 1) Verb - To set is to prepare the stage for the coming scene by placing everything in its correct position. 2) Noun - The set is all the scenery, furniture and props used to create a particular scene. 3) When an actor has learnt their lines and stage directions they are 'set'.

Set Dressing 1) The process of putting all sets, props and so on in their correct positions on the stage. 2) Props used to create atmosphere rather than having a function.

Set Piece A piece of scenery which stands alone.

Setting Line Line normally parallel to the front of the stage and just upstage of the house curtain, from which the positions of the scenery are measured.

SFX Abbrev. for Sound Effects, or Special Effects.

Shot Bag Canvas bag filled with lead shot used to secure scenery to the stage.

Shot Gun A type of very directional microphone able to be used from much farther away from a sound source than normal.

Showcard An early lighting plot storage system, using a cardboard card, much like a computer punch card. It was inexpensive at the time, but bulky.

Shure Brothers American audio equipment manufacturer, particularly known for their range of what have become industry standard microphones - particularly the Shure SM58 and SM57.

Shutter A device in a profile spot which can alter or change the beam of light.

Side A page of script.

Side Fills Foldback speakers set to the side of the stage.

Sightlines Lines indicating the limits of what an audience can see. The sightlines can be drawn on a plan or determined by someone in the auditorium.

Signal to Noise Ratio The ratio of desired sound to undesired background noise.

Silhouette Range of profile spots made by CCT Lighting.

Silk A type of diffusion filter.

Sill An flat metal bar screwed to the bottom of a door flat to secure it to the stage.

Single Purchase Counterweight flying system where the cradle travels the same distance as the fly bar's travel. The counterweight frame therefore occupies the full height of the side wall of the stage.

Sit In A director may invite a group of the actors' friends to 'sit in' on a rehearsal.

Skin Off Your Nose Theatrical greeting originating in the 19th century when make-up was coarse and crude, and would peel skin off the face. Actors in the early part of last century could often be identified by their blotchy appearance. So the greeting meant that the person hoped the actor would keep in work and thus lose more skin from their face!

Sky Cloth See Cyclorama.

Slip Programs To insert a page into a program informing the audience perhaps of late changes to the cast.

Smoke Machine A device that produces the effect of smoke on stage. It operates by forcing a liquid mixture into a very hot chamber. The mixture, commonly called 'juice' or 'fog juice', becomes a gas and is expelled through a small nozzle. It emerges as a cloud of smoke. Also Fogger.

Snap Fade An instantaneous lighting change or crossfade.

Soft Edged A light beam on stage that has a out of focus or ill-defined edge or side. Also Soft Focus.

Soft Focus See Soft Edged.

Soft Patch Analogue lighting control systems still rely on the principal of 'one fader one channel' - sometimes known as parallel control - that is, each fader on the desk controls one dimmer. The only way to change this is to physically alter the wiring arrangements. A digital lighting control system, however, because the lighting control signals are combined all into one digital circuit, can use a 'softpatch' to electronically link different channels to different, or multiple, dimmers.

Sound Craft English audio equipment manufacturer.

Sound Reinforcement The aim is to present the listener with an amplified yet natural sound.

Spanset An extremely strong nylon strap made into a loop used in rigging.

Slapstick Slightly manic but physical comedy that relies on often violent behaviour to elicit laughter.

Speaker Also Loudspeaker. The part of a sound system that produces the actual sound that a person hears. The sound is produced by the vibration of a paper or synthetic cone by an electrical voltage in a wire coil.

Special A lantern performing a particular function, such as a fire 'special' or a window 'special'.

Spectrum Analyser Device that gives a visual readout of the level of the sound frequencies present in a room or on the input signal. Used as a tool in tuning a venue's sound system.

Spigot Small adaptor pin used to attach a lantern to a push stand or similar unit.

Spiking Marking the position of a set piece on the stage. See Marking.

Spill Unwanted light which is normally due to a poorly focused lantern.

Spine The dominant desire or motive of a character.

Spit and Dribble The cheapest seats in the highest balcony in the auditorium.

Spot Line A line rigged from the grid to fly a piece of scenery.

Spotlight A lighting instrument in which the angle and beam size can be controlled.

Stage 1) The part of the theatre on which the actor performs. 2) The acting profession - an actor is said to be 'On The Stage'.

Stage Brace Portable support for flats - a metal rod, one end of which that hooks into a Brace Cleat on the back of the flat, while the other is affixed to the stage floor. (UK).

Stage Conventions Certain devices used within a performance that are accepted as portraying an event or style without necessarily being realistic.

Stage Directions Directions in the script about how the playwright intends actions or arrangements to be carried out.

Stage Door The door to the theatre through which the cast and crew enter and exit the theatre. Not the public entrance to the building.

Stage Door Keeper See Hall Keeper.

Stage Fever A desire to be on the stage.

Stage House The stage and everything up to the grid.

Stage Left Abbrev. to SL. The left side of the stage as viewed by the cast facing the audience. Also Prompt Side, Camera Right.

Stage Manager The member of the production team responsible for the smooth running of a performance. Before a production opens the Stage Manager attends rehearsals and meetings with other members of the production, and in smaller companies is often the coordinator of all of the various aspects of the production. During the performance the Stage Manager, using a copy of the script annotated during rehearsals, cues the actors and the various technical departments. On larger shows this last function will be performed by the Deputy Stage Manager.

Stage Right Abbrev. to SR. The right hand stage as viewed by the cast facing the audience. Also Opposite Prompt, Camera Left.

Stage Screw A screw for fixing braces to strong stage floors.

Stage Weight Used to secure the base of a french or stage brace.

Stagger Through A more realistic term for a Run Through.

Starlette Range of fresnel lanterns made by CCT Lighting.

State See Scene.

State Of Board Sheet A form on which the individual levels of each channel of the lighting desk are noted for a particular scene. When operating a manual lighting desk this is the means by which the lighting plot is recalled. Of course on a memory desk the computer takes care of this extremely laborious task.

Step To cycle through a sequence of lighting states and changes.

Sticky If a scene or paragraph is proving difficult to play, it is said to be sticky.

Stop Filter See Neutral Density Filter.

SRO See Standing Room Only.

Standing Room Only All seats having been sold the only positions left for the audience require standing for the show.

Stile Vertical batten in the framework of a flat.

Stock Characters Type cast characters such as 'The Villain', 'The Hero', etc.

Stock Plots As for Stock Characters.

Stock Scenery Scenery able to be used for a number of different plays.

Strand Strand Electric, famous English stage lighting company, now represented all over the world. Once boasted that every theatre in the world owned at least one piece of Strand equipment. Founded in 1914 by two London theatre electricians - Arthur Earnshaw and Phillip Sheridan.

Stretcher Small rope clamped to side edge of a back drop, then pulled outwards to stretch the cloth flat.

Striation Unevenness in a light beam caused by the lamp filament.

Strike To clear the stage of scenery and other materials, or to remove a specific article.

Strobe Lighting unit giving a fast series of very short light flashes under which action appears frozen.

Strop A length of wire rope used to hang scenery etc from fly bars.

Sub-Group See Sub-Master.

Sub-Master or Sub-Group. A control on either a sound or a lighting desk that allows a set of channels to be controlled from one fader. Generally a Sub-Master is a lighting term, whilst Sub-Group an audio term. In lighting - also Scene Master.

Subtext The meaning beneath the superficial surface of a play's story, often more important then the latter.

Summer Stock Theatre Companies that operate in regional areas, outside the usual theatrical centres, during the summer months, and who produce an intensive season of plays.

Super-Cardioid See Hyper-Cardioid.

Surround Sound An extra audio track now added to many films often used for atmospheric or special effects sounds. The surround speakers are place at the side and/or rear of the audience so that the patrons appear 'surrounded' by the film's soundtrack. When first developed was predominantly used for sudden special effects sounds such as explosions, and so was first know as the effects soundtrack.

Tabs A pair of curtains which over-lap at centre, and together are the full width and height of the stage. Front tabs are the House Curtain.

Supernumerary An actor with a non-speaking role, employed, for example, to swell a crowd scene. Also Extra.

Tableau A finishing arrangement or placement of cast at the end of a scene or act that is achieved, then held as the lights fade down or the curtain falls.

Tableau Vivant Almost the reverse of a tableau, but where supposedly inanimate images come to life.

Tab Track Track with centre overlap for suspending and operating horizontally moving tabs. The curtains operated are often known as 'french action' tabs.

Tag Line See Curtain Line.

Talkback A system of two way communications amongst the performance crew, each who wears a set of headphones with or without a boom microphone. (UK). Also Cans.

Tallescope Aluminium vertical ladder with an adjustable base on wheels, used for erecting and focusing lanterns, reaching the grid etc.

Tape Echo See Echo Unit.

T-Bar A metal bar with a slot down the middle mounted horizontally on a push-up stand, from which a small number of lights can be hung.

Teaser 1) Originally the border of scenery behind the front curtain for masking the flys, now the term refers to any short drop used as masking. 2) A small press or short radio or TV advertisement designed to titillate the public while giving almost no detail.

Technical The functions essential to a play other than those of the cast's actual interpretation of the script, in particular the set, lighting etc.

Technical Director See Technical Stage Manager.

Technical Rehearsal Abbrev. to Tech. A rehearsal at which all of the technical elements are rehearsed and integrated into the show.

Technical Stage Manager Sometimes known as Technical Director. In charge of the technical activities and staff on stage, particularly during bump-in and out.

Tempus M24 Small Strand Lighting memory desk, popular with schools and small theatres.

Theatre In The Round A stage in which the audience sits on all sides of the stage.

Theme The central idea of a play.

The Old Complaint Euphemism for habitual drunkenness among actors.

Three Fold Three flats hinged together.

Throw The distance between the lantern and the object being lit.

Throw Line A rope which holds flats against one and other. Also Lash Line.

Thrust Stage Type of stage which projects into the auditorium so the audience can sit on at least two sides.

Thumb Nut See Tri Nut.

Tilt The vertical movement of a lantern.

Toggle 1) Crosspiece in a flat frame. 2) A heavy rubber band used to secure cables to bars and booms.

Top And Tail See Cue To Cue.

Top End The highest part of the audible audio frequency spectrum.

Top It When an actor is directed to come in on a line with more pace and volume.

Tormentor Narrow curtain or flat used to mask the wings, usually at right angles to the proscenium.

Town Power Electricity from the electrical generating grid. As opposed to generator power, produced from a stand alone unit.

Tragic Flaw The fundamental error in a character that often leads to a climax for the character within a play.

Translucent A property possessed by some materials that allows light through without showing the particular shape or form of objects on the other side.

Trap A trap door opening into the area below stage which can be used for special effects.

Traps Case Roadcase in which a drummer stores the various stands and attachments that hold up their drum kit.

Traverse Tabs Tabs set on a track across the stage.

Treads Steps or stairs used on stage.

Tree A rigging stand that sits on the floor that can lift a bar of lights up to a certain height. Also known as 'winch ups' due to the fact the stand is usually telescoped up by operating a hand winch attached to the side of the tree.

Tri Nut The bolt that tightens a G-Clamp to a bar. Often called Tri Nut because many have a triangular plastic grip.

Tri Truss See Truss.

Trim To adjust flown scenery so the bottom is level with the floor.

Trim Chain Short length of chain linking the wire rope end to a fly bar. By clipping or shackling the chain up or down a few links the horizontal alignment of the bar can be adjusted.

Tripe Long bundles of electrical cable.

Trouper An optimist, some one who always sees the good side and rolls with the bad.

Truck A low platform with wheels or castors on which a piece of scenery can be moved. Also Wagon.

Truss A metal frame used to hang lanterns from. Comes in three main designs - flat, box, and tri - which describe the shape created by the frame. By virtue of their construction trusses are very strong and able to carry extremely heavy loads. Most truss is now made of aluminium for weight reasons and sections can be bolted together to produce long pieces. Used extensively in concert production to form the 'roof' over the stage from which to hang everything from lanterns to speakers. Even followspots can mounted together with their operators who access their seats via circus style rope or wire ladders.

Tumbling Flying a cloth from the bottom as well as from the top when there is insufficient height to fly in the normal way.

Tune 1) Aligning a musical instrument to a standard pitch, or adjusting musical instruments for playing together. 2) Adjusting the equalisation of a sound system to suit the acoustic characteristics of a specific room and/or style of performance.

Tungsten Lamps Normal lamps whose tungsten filaments gradually lose the brightness of their light output. The stage types are big brothers of the standard domestic types.

Tungsten Halogen Lamps Special lamps which maintain their initial brightness of light output throughout their lives. Now generally used.

Two Fold See Book Flat.

Understudy An actor who learns the part of another ready to step into their shoes should they not be able to perform due to illness or other reasons. Also Cover.

Uni-Directional A microphone that is sensitive to sound from only one angle. See Cardioid.

Un-Reserved Ticketing See Reserved Ticketing.

Upstage Abbrev. to US. The part of the stage furthest away from the audience.

Upstaging To deliberately draw focus on stage.

Ultra Violet light Abbrev. to U.V. Light emissions above the spectrum visible to the human eye. Used to produce a glowing effect from white fabric or materials treated with special paint.

U.V. See Ultra Violet Light.

Vienna Action Curtains drawn up from part way along the inside vertical edge.

Volt The unit of electrical potential. (Italian physicist, Volta, 1745-1827).

V.U. Meter An audio meter that indicates sound level in decibels.

Waggly Mirror Lights A type of automated lantern. Instead of the actual lantern fitting being moved by motors and so on, a small mirror is attached at the front of the lantern that reflects the light output. By moving the mirror, the light beam can be moved. An efficient way of automating lanterns because there are less moving parts, and as only a small lightweight mirror actual changes position, the accompanying mechanics can be correspondingly lightweight. With modern electronics the mirror position can be very accurately controlled.

Wagon See Truck.

Walk Through Rehearsals at which the actors go through entrances, moves and exits to make clear any changes or alterations that made be necessary.

Wardrobe General name for the costume department, its staff, and the accommodation they occupy.

Wardrobe Plot Actor-by-actor, scene-by-scene inventory of all the costumes in a production, giving a detailed breakdown of each separate item in each costume.

Warm Up A session usually a short time before a performance in which the actors prepare their bodies through a number of physical, mental, and musical exercises.

Warning Bells See Bells.

Wash Wash lighting. Stage lighting focussed on stage not in a specific spot, but more as a general lighting over an area. Several areas may be combined and balanced to effect an even light over the whole acting area.

Ways 1) The maximum number of combinations of channels on a lighting installation. (UK) 2) See Channel.

Weight Cradle The metal frame that holds the fly weights in a counterweight flying system.

Whistling Whistling in dressing rooms is traditionally considered bad luck. To appease the gods you must turn around three times, leave the room for a minute, then knock three times and re-enter!

White Noise An audio signal that contains noise at the same level at all frequencies.

Winch up See Tree.

Windshield Foam cover for microphones that reduces the sound of wind and breath, so enhancing the sound the microphone is supposed to be picking up.

Wings The sides of the stage concealed from the audiences' view.

Wing Curtains See Legs.

Working Lights Stage lights independent of the main dimming system used while the crew work on stage during Bump-in etc.

Workshop Any non-performing backstage area of the theatre.

Workshop Performance A performance in which maximum effort goes towards acting and interpretation of the script rather than sets or costumes, or the visual performance.

X-Lights See Batten.

Yamaha Major Japanese manufacturer producing a wide range of audio and musical equipment.

Yoke See Harness.

Zoom A variable focus lens.

Zoom Profile A profile spot with two lenses that allows the beam angle to be adjusted.



PAGE 1 A-D                            Also: Glossary of Improvisation

PAGE 2 E-O                                      Suggested Reading List