s hook -- shaped like an 's', it's used to attached stiffeners to the top rail or to the toggle bar on a flat
sandbag -- a bag of sand used to counter weight the drops hung from the grid and as a useful weight for a triangular jack supporting a scenic piece
satire -- play that ridicules social foibles, beliefs, religious, or human vices, almost always in a light-hearted vein. Example: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
saturation -- the amount of color in a pigment or lighting filter; high saturation means deep color
satyr play -- a short Greek play presented after three tragedies to supply the comic relief, so-called because the chorus disguised themselves as satyrs, half men and half goat creatures
scale model -- ¼ inch cardboard model built from ground plans and elevations so that the set can easily be visualized
scansion -- the analysis of a line of verse in metrical terms.
scenario -- outline of the play
scene -- division of an act, usually denoting a change in time or place; can also be the descriptor for the locale of a play
scene bay, dock -- a place just off the stage proper used to store flat scenery and load in other pieces of the set
scene breakdown -- a list of scenes showing which characters are in which scenes
scene-change light -- a dim light cue designed to allow a scene change crew to work without the audience feeling that a real scene in going on
scene shop -- where scenery is constructed
scene-shop manager -- the person who amintains the scene shop and, with the TD, decides how the scenery will be built
scenic artist -- a person who applies paint and other forms of decoration to scenery
scenic designer -- one responsible for designing the set
schtick -- a repeated bit of comic business, routine, or gimmick used by a star performer
scoop -- a simple lighting instrument composed of a standard bulb and a large reflector
SCR dimmers -- the standard form of electronic dimmers
scrim -- a net or gauze curtain, drop, or set that appears opaque when lighted from the front but becomes transparent when lighted from behind
script -- dialogue, lyrics, and stage directions of a musical or play
set, setting -- indicates the place where the action of a play occurs through the arrangement of the scenery, furniture, lighting and props establishing this place of action
set dressing -- decorations that have no function on a set, but are merely placed there to look good
set line -- the setting for a play outlined on the stage floor
set props -- props that are used only as set dressing and are not handled by actors
sewn-in fullness -- a technique for draperies where the favric is gathered into folds and permanently sewn that way
shared lines -- where a line is shared between two or more speakers.
share stage -- placing actors so all have equal focus and emphasis
shift -- the striking of one set and the setting up of scenery for another
shoestring production -- a show put together with a bare minimum of financial help
show drop -- a front curtain desined especially for a particular production
shutter lines -- the hard shadows caused by pushing in a shutter on an ellipsoidal
shutters -- the metal tabs on ellipsoidals used to cut off part of the light
side light -- light that comes from stage right or left of the performer
sides -- half sheets of paper that have one character’s speaking lines and lyrics with cues and stage directions
sight cue -- a non-verbal cue usually given as stage business
sight gag -- visual humor from a funny prop, costume, makeup, hairstyle, or movement
sight lines -- imaginary lines from seats at the sides of the house and top of the balcony to the stage to determine what parts of the acting area will be visible to audience members sitting in those seats
sign-in sheet -- a list of performers and crew that lives on the callboard; cast and crew should check off their name when they arrive
silhouette -- a lighting effect when you light the performer only from upstage, or when you light a drop behind her
sill iron -- the thin strip of flat iron running across the bottom opening of a door flat to keep it rigid
simile -- a comparison using 'like' or 'as'.
simultaneous staging -- stage arrangement in which more than one set appears on the stage at once, often with a neutral playing area (plateau) in front that can be used as part of which ever set is being used at the time
simple physical action -- the process of performing a physical activity and knowing the reason why.
sizing -- a glue mixture applied to new canvas prior to painting
sketch -- a brief farcical bit found in revues
skin -- the top of a platform, where the actor stands
skit -- a short dramatic sketch, usually humorous
sky drop -- a blue drop representing the sky
slapstick -- comedy that stresses horseplay and wild physical buffoonery
slip stage -- a large platform on wheels that can carry a full setting with properties
slow burn -- slow, comic realization that something ba has happened; the disgust and anger builds within the actor until he/she explodes in rage
slow take -- actor slowly looks out to the audience as he/she slowly realizes what has been said or done
smoke machine -- a machine that produces billowing smoke that hangs in the air
snap line -- the line left by a chalked string stretched taut and snapped on a surface
snap out -- an instantaneous blackout
snow bag -- (or cradle) a long bag strung between two battens and filled with artificial snow; shake it gently and it will "snow" onstage
social drama -- plays dealing with the problems of society
soliloquy -- inner thoughts of a character spoken alone on stage to explore the character’s private thoughts; often lyric in style and highly emotional
sonnet -- a poem of fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter.
sound designer -- the person who operates the sound system during a performance
space stage -- an open stage that features lighting and, perhaps, projected scenery (film, slide or television pictures that are projected from the rear or the front onto a surface that is part of the set)
spatter -- throwing paint out of a brush onto a flat to achieve a textured effect
special -- a lighting instrument that is used to light a single, isolated person or thing
special effect -- technical effect -- usually spectacular -- found in a play, television program, or film. These can vary from the relatively simple gunshot or the flying of a character to a vast flood or thermonuclear war. The more elaborate special effects may be beyond the capacity of the most theatre technicians; in this case, a specialist -- a special effects artist -- may be employed.
spike -- to mark the stage floor with chalk or tape to indicate the position of furniture, properties, or scenery so that they will be placed correctly during scene shifts
spike tape -- colored tape that is used to mark (or "spike") scenery positions onstage
spirit gum -- a liquid adhesive used to glue on facial hair
spotlight -- powerful lights used to light a certain area on the stage from the front of the house or from the balcony
spotlighting -- focusing a strong light on one individual or a group, often used for solos or duets in order to attract the audience’s attention to the most important people onstage
spotting -- the process of moving a Fresnel lamp forward in the instrument, thereby making the beam of lighting narrower; the opposite of "flooding"
SRO -- indicates a full house; standing room only
stadium stage -- theater space where banks of seating face each other and design elements are simulated on end walls
stage brace -- used to prevent flats from shaking
stage business -- all visual activity an actor does on stage other than personal business that fills out the details of his character
stage convention -- departure from reality that the audience will accept such as a character in a musical suddenly breaking into song and being accompanied by an orchestra
stage crew -- the crew that works backstage druing the show, shifting the scenery
stage crew chief -- the person who decides how the shift will be done and assigns the crew their individual jobs
stage directions -- those instructions given to the actor by the director
stage fright -- a normal tension felt by performers, amateurs and professionals alike before curtain time
stage left/right -- the left/right side of the stage, from the actor's perspective
stage manager -- member of the artistic leadership of a theatre company who accepts full responsibility for the integrity of a production once it is open to the public. The stage manager normally “calls the show” (i.e., gives commands to execute all cues during performance) and accepts responsibility for maintaining the artistic integrity of the production throughout the duration of its run.
stage picture -- arrangement on a stage of performers and the visual production elements
stage plug -- (stage pin, three pin) one of two common types of plugs on stage lighting instruments, it has three round pins and a square black plug
stage screw -- a large hand screw used to fasten stage braces to the stage
stage struck -- an overwhelming desire to break into theatre as a performer, often without regard to experience or ability
stage whisper -- a very loud whisper uttered by an actor so that th entire audience can hear it
stalled cue -- a pause affected immediately after a cue is picked up
standby -- performer who is prepared to substitute for a star in case of an emergency; unlike an understudy, the standby does not appear in the musical at other times
Stanislavsky method -- a system of acting created by the Russian director and actor Constantin Stanislavsky, in which the actor finds and expresses the inner truth of the character by defining the character’s objectives, developing a subtext for every moment on stage, exploring the character’s emotional life through emotional memory and improvisation
static scene -- scene with little movement and no drive; to be avoided at all cost
steal -- to move onstage without attracting the audience’s attention
steal a scene -- to attract attention that should be on another actor
stichomythia -- rapidly alternating single lines spoken by two characters.
stiffener -- a board of any length attached to a flat for the purpose of making it more rigid
stile -- a vertical support on a flat
still -- a photograph of a scene from a play usually for promotional purposes
stitcher -- the costume shop worker who assembles pieces into finished costumes
stock character -- a familiar character who appears in a variety of plays including the villain, the hero, the clever servant, the fool, etc.
stock company -- a theatrical company having at its command a number of plays
stock scenery -- scenery that is stored and used for many different productions, e.g., flats and platforms
stooge -- a performer placed in the audience to act as a tool or butt of the comedian’s joke
stop the show -- audience response for a character, scene or song which is so great that the action of the play must be literally stopped until the applause subsides
straight line -- line that sets up a punch line so it will get a laugh
straight man -- one who delivers straight lines to a comic
straight run -- a rolling platform that only rolls forward and back, as opposed to a swivel platform, which can go any direction you want; also describes the castor that meks this possible
straight-run platform -- a rolling platform that only moves forward and back, not side to side
strap hinge -- a heavy, diamond-shaped hinge used for locking door frames onto flats or hinging especially heavy pieces together
street theater -- open-air spaces where acting troupes try to attract audiences, often for the purpose of social activism
strike -- in two words, to remove; in rehearsal, perhaps a prop, like a glass or a chair; after a production, the entire set and all the properties from the stage area
strip light -- a lighting instrument composed of a string of lamps in a long, metal housing; aka border light
strong area -- those areas on the stage that are the strongest in getting and holding the audience’s attention
strut -- a scenery support
subtext -- the thoughts that accompany the line, implied but not spoken in the text. The actors invent the subtext appropriate to their characters and situations to help achieve the sense of immediate truth.
swag -- draperies that are looped or sewn in loops
swan song -- an actor’s final performance, originating from the idea that the swan is supposed to make a final utterance before it dies
swing -- singer and/or dancer who is prepared to substitute for chorus members who are unable to perform
swivel -- a castor that is able to roll in any direction
symbolist drama -- a form of drama in which subjectivity and spirituality is considered a higher form of truth than mere observance of outward appearance
super, supernumerary -- a performer without a speaking part who appears in a mob scene
syntax -- sentence structure; the way in which words, phrases, and clauses are arranged in a sentence.