Stage blocking- Decided by the director, they assist actors where they should be positioned on a stage. These instructions benefit the performance as the actors are aware which movement to undertake. This makes sure the stage does not become too overcrowded.
Sightlines- The audience must be able to see every part of the stage from eye level whether they are seated in the centre or side. A good sightline determines the viewers will see all areas of the stage.
Stage Directions- The director must make sure the sightlines for the audience are clear at all angles while positioning actors. These directions should be noted in their scripts as they should be memorized.
The terms are directed facing from the audience view. Therefore, if actors are told to move to the right they will move to the left as this is the right side for the audience.
Upstage: moving away from the audience, towards the back of the stage.
Downstage: Moving towards the audience, towards the front of the stage.
Stage Right: Moving towards the actors left but viewer’s right (facing the audience)
Stage Left: Moving towards the actor’s right but viewer’s left (facing audience).
It is highly beneficial for actors to learn these theatrical terms as it saves time for the director to regularly point out where they want the actors positioned. It also helps the actors experience to behave and think professionally in the theatrical environment.
Safety is number one priority and should be thoroughly checked before any performance:
- Only harmless rubber props such as swords, guns and knives should be used. NEVER use real weapons.
- Sound effects for gun shots is required. Some professional prop guns may cause harm.
- Real fire should never be used on stage. Glowing light or glittering torch behind creative craft materials are used as alternatives.
- Stage fights must remain 100% harmless. They must be professionally practised stunts.
- As exciting as smoke effects may be, it should be minimized as even professionally stage equipment can create irrational mist to the performers.
- Finally, ensure all props are solid and safe. Heavy objects that are able to come apart will cause harm and embarrassment!