tab -- a vertical drape just inside the proscenium that masks performers in the wings; also a term meaning to pull a drape aside
tab curtain -- a front curtain that is permanently secured at the top edge which is gathered by diagonal ropes when lifted
tableau -- moment in which a living picture is created on stage and held by actors without motion or speech
tag line -- final line of a scene or act, or the exit line of a major character. When it is the final line of an act it is also called a curtain line.
take a call -- to acknowledge the applause of the audience at the end of a performance by bowing or showing some other form of appreciation
take five -- slang term used to indicate that you are going to take a break from working for five minutes. Quite often the break is ten, rather than five, minutes.
tape the stage -- the process of depicting the outlines of the set on the rehearsal room floor, using colored tape; generally done by the stage manager before the first rehearsal
take stage -- directorís request that an actor move into a more prominent position on stage; also that the actor needs to expend more energy in the scene
teaser -- a horizontal drape across the stage, designed to hide the first electric
technical director (TD) -- the person who figures out how the set will be built and then oversees construction; sometimes in charge of lighting as well
technical rehearsal -- rehearsal for perfecting the technical elements of a show, such as the scene and property shifts, lighting, sound, and special effects
telegraph -- a play in which the audience is able to deduce what the outcome will be
template -- (pattern, gobo) a metal pattern that, when placed inside an ellipsoidal spotlight, throws a shadow pattern on the stage
tempo -- general rate of playing a scene. Tempo depends on cue pickup, the rate lines are read, and the overall energy level of the performance: the intensity.
tetrameter -- the rhythm of a verse line with four stresses.
text -- words of the dialogue and lyrics
theatre in the round -- an arena style production in which the audience surrounds the acting stage, and the actors use the various aisles for exits and entrances
theatre of cruelty -- 1930 movement designed to disrupt the logic of the audience and free their subconscious minds so that they might experience the mysterious forces of existence characterized by magic and myth
theatre of the absurd -- reveals manís inability to understand and control the world about him
theme -- central ideas or thoughts of a play that synthesize the audienceís experiences
thesis play -- serious treatment of social, moral, or philosophical ideas. These plays make a one-sided presentation and employ a character who sums up the lesson of the play and serves as the authorís voice. Example: Our Town by Thornton Wilder
thespian -- actor; after Thespis, the first Greek dramatist
three-quarter left -- performer turns to a position halfway between left profile and full back
three-quarter right -- performer is in a position halfway between full back and right profile
throw away -- underplay a moment in a scene; de-emphasize a line reading or a piece of business
throw distance -- the distance from the lighting instrument to th eperson or thing it is lighting
thrust stage/open stage/apron stage -- wraparound theater space where the stage extends out into the audience and the spectators view the action from three sides. The main advantage to this setup is that more of the audience can be closer to the actors. Scenically, it can be less expensive to mount a theater piece on a thrust stage than on a proscenium stage.
tie lines -- small cotton lines used to attach drapes and drops to battens
tie-off -- to fasten a set of lines to a pin rail or other stationary object
timing -- selecting the right moment to say a line or do an action for maximum effectiveness
toenail -- to nail obliquely through the end of one board into a second board
toggle bar -- horizontal pieces of wood used in constructing a flat to make it rigid
top -- pick up the energy, the pace, and the volume of a scene: one actor tops the other thereby building tension and emotional impact
top billing -- the star of the show whose name is most prominent on the marquee and at the top of the playbill
top hats -- round metal objects that are placed in the color frame holder of lighting instruments to cut down on stray light
tormentor -- flats or drapes at the sides of the proscenium arch that may be used to alter the with of the stage opening
tormentor lights -- spotlights mounted on a vertical pipe batten on either side of the stage just behind the tormentors and used as side lighting
touring show -- a play performed by a company at numerous locations
tracking a platform -- building a track into the stage that helps to guide a platform to its proper place
tracks -- slots in a stage floor created for guiding portable scenery, wagons, and properties
tragedian -- an actor who plays tragic roles
tragedy -- play that treats, at the most uncompromising level, human suffering. Modern tragedy involves ordinary people, rather than the nobility of classical tragedy, and is written generally in prose rather than verse. The common men or women probe the same depths and ask the same questions as their predecessors. Why do men and women suffer? Why are cruelty and injustice in the world? And perhaps most fundamental of all: What is the meaning of our lives? Examples: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear, by William Shakespeare; Long Days Journey Into Night and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
tragicomedy -- a play which is a blend of tragic and comedic elements
trampoline -- a framework of net, webbed or rubberized material used to cushion the fall of an actor from a height
trap -- opening in the stage floor, normally covered, which can be used for special effects, such as having scenery or performers rise from below, or which permits the construction of a staircase which ostensibly leads to a lower floor or cellar
traveler -- a horizontally drawn curtain
travesty -- a parody of a more serious work
treadmill -- moving belts on a stage floor on which scenery or actors may give the illusion of moving in full view of the audience
trestle -- the framework used to support a platform
trim chain -- short pieces of chain used to fasten a batten to a scenic piece used to keep the piece in trim
trim clamp -- a metal clamp used to hold several lines to a counterweight system so that scenery can be held in trim
trims -- the heights of flying scenery and masking
trip -- to lift the bottom of a drop or flown scenery with another set of lines in theatres where there isnít enough fly space to lift the unit vertically to its entire length
tripping -- folding a piece of flying scenery as it goes out; generally done to save space
tritagonist -- an actor who played the third part in Greek tragedy following the protagonist and the deuteragonist
trombone -- the lever on a follow spot that allows the operator to make the beam larger or smaller
trough -- a long metal container in which lamps are set
troupe -- a theatrical company
truck -- a dolly for moving heavy equipment
truss -- a horizontal gridwork structure that is suspended from the ceiling or held up by towers on either end; designed to hold lighting instruments; standard equipment for larger industrial shows or rock-and roll concerts
turn in -- actor is to face upstage, away from the audience
turn out -- actor is to face downstage, toward the audience
twist-lock -- one of two common types of plugs on stage lighting instruments, it has three curved blades that lock when inserted and twisted
typecasting -- selection of actors based upon their physical similarity to a certain dramatic type or upon their reputation for specializing in that kid of role