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Downstage Definition & Meaning

By | February 14, 2020
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These terms come from the structure of stages in the Middle Ages and early modern period, which were built on an upward slope away from the audience to improve viewer visibility. “Upstage” refers to the section of the stage that was higher, while “downstage” refers to the area that was lower. Stage directions are written from the perspective of the actor facing the audience. An actor who turns to his or her right is moving stage right, while an actor who turns to his or her left is moving stage left. These notations in the script, written by the playwright and set aside with brackets, tell the actors where to sit, stand, move about, enter, and exit.

  1. Stage directions serve many functions, but their primary purpose is to guide actors’ movements on the stage, called blocking.
  2. Stage directions also can be used to tell an actor how to shape his or her performance.
  3. When I say young performers, I am typically referring to elementary school students.

Whether you’re an actor, writer, or director, knowing how to use stage directions effectively will help you improve your craft. The front of the stage, called downstage, is the end closest to the audience. The rear of the stage, called upstage, is behind the actor’s back, furthest from the audience.

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Stage directions also can be used to tell an actor how to shape his or her performance. They may describe how the character behaves physically or mentally and are often used by the playwright to guide the play’s emotional tone. Some scripts also contain notations on lighting, music, and sound effects. Every play has some degree of stage direction written into the script. Stage directions serve many functions, but their primary purpose is to guide actors’ movements on the stage, called blocking. The first definition of downstage in the dictionary is at or towards the front of the stage.

Upstage/Downstage: Why?

One of the first lessons that I teach young performers is how to take direction and move across stage. When I say young performers, I am typically referring to elementary school students. However, anyone who is new to the rehearsal process, regardless of age, needs to be able to recognize basic theatrical lingo in https://accounting-services.net/ order to take direction. At a minimum, all actors should understand and recognize the terms, “stage right,” “stage left,” “downstage” and “upstage.” The terms “stage right” and “stage left” are pretty self explanatory. It refers to the actor’s right or left as they are standing on the stage and facing the audience.

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The terms “Upstage” and “Downstage,” on the other hand, require a bit more clarification. In the early days of theater, stages used to be “raked” or built to slope toward the audience. The lowest side of the stage was the side closest to the audience and the highest side of the stage was furthest away from the audience.

Examples of use in the English literature, quotes and news about downstage

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘downstage.’ Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and downstage meaning other reference data is for informational purposes only. This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. Add downstage to one of your lists below, or create a new one.

Other definition of downstage is of or relating to the front of the stage. If you are a teacher, I am certain that if you invite your group on stage and ask them to gather together “center stage” — they will know where that is. If the stage has been divided into 15 sections instead of nine, there will be a “left-center” and “right-center” in each section, for five possible locations in each of the three zones.

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