Sandbag Canvas bag filled with sand and used as a counterweight.
Satire Play in which sarcasm, irony and ridicule are used expose or attack folly or pretension in government or society.
Satyr Play Also known as Satyr Drama. In ancient Greece, farcical plays which followed, and served as ribald commentary on, the statutory three tragedies performed in the Dionysian contests in Athens. This type of play actually pre-dated the formal tragedies for which the contests were held and always included a chorus of Sileni or satyrs. These half man, half-horse creatures were the mythical companions of Dionysus. The plays were characterized by vigorous dancing, boisterous fun and indecent speech and gesture.
Scene From the Greek skene, which was set up on the circumference of the acting area and provided a place for the actors to change masks, etc. The skene is actually the precursor of scenery in modern drama, because it came to be used to represent locations in later Greek comedy. The word scene, as used in modern theatre, denotes a unit of dramatic action in which conflict occurs.
Scenery Term used to describe everything on stage (except props) used to represent the place at which action is occurring.
Scene Shop The backstage area in which scenery is designed and built.
Scrim A loosely woven material used on stage, often to represent glass or some other transparent substance. If lighting is thrown on the front of a scrim drop, with no lighting behind, it becomes opaque. If lighting on the front is reduced and the scrim is lit from behind, it becomes transparent to the audience. Lighting can therefore be used to "remove" a wall and permit the audience to see the action on the other side, while understanding that they are seeing "through" the wall. An example of this can be seen in South Pacific during the follies when backstage area of the follies plays downstage in front of a scrim and the actual "performance" takes place upstage, behind the scrim. By changing the lighting, the scene can be shifted from action taking place "backstage" to that "onstage".
Set The surroundings on stage, visisble to the audience, in which the action of a play develops.
Set Piece See, also, Built Stuff. Three-dimensional piece of scenery or a flat cut so as to appear three-dimensional.
Sharers Term from Elizabethan theatre to describe those members of the company who owned a part interest in the wardrobe and playbooks, as opposed to apprentices, who were not paid, and hired men, who paid a fixed wage.
Shutters Adjustable flaps on a lighting instrument such as a barn door. Ellipsoidal lighting instruments use metal shutters which slide in and out between the focal point inside the instrument and the projection lens. Shutters of all types are used to shape and limit the beam of light thrown by the instrument.
Sight Lines The lines of sight from the extreme sides of the auditorium and from the rear of the balcony that determine the limit of the area on stage in which action can take place and be visible to the entire audience.
Sky-Drop A drop designed to be used in the manner of a cyclorama, for the projection of lighting effects.
Smoke Machine An electrical device that contains a reservoir of a liquid specially manufactured for the purpose of producing a smoke effect. Useful for simulating smoke, mist, fog (it's also called a fog machine), and simply producing a thin layer of slightly opaque atmosphere to reveal the beams of light. There are various ways to control the smoke, including the use of a dry ice "locker" that will cool the stream of smoke and make it "lay down" on the stage floor for those misty moor looks.
Soliloquy See, Monologue. Soliloquy is passage of narrative spoken by a single actor in which his or her thoughts are revealed to the audience.
Sound Effects See, Noises Off. Sound effects were originally produced backstage by members of the crew. In modern theatre, this may still take place, but effects are more often produced through a sound system consisting of a tape deck or compact disc player, a control board, amplifier and strategically placed speakers.
Spatter A method of painting in which a paint brush is struck against a hand so that small dots of paint are thrown onto a flat. Related to sponge painting, this method is used to break up a painted surface so as to give it more realistic depth and dimension.
Special A special lighting effect.
Spike The process of placing marks with either paint or tape to designate where pieces of scenery are to be placed.
Spike Marks Marks on the stage floor, made with tape or paint, to designate where pieces of scenery are to be placed. Particularly useful for scene changes, spike marks often consist of luminous paint or flourescent tape.
Spot As in spotlight. See, Follow-Spot.
Stage The area in a theatre upon which the play is performed. Traditionally a raised platform, but stages can also be at a level below a surrounding audience, as in theatres in the round.
Stage Brace A brace, sometimes an adjustable brace with specialized attachments, used to brace scenery, particularly flats and boat trucks.
Stage Direction Indications in a script for entrances and exits, and for movement in relation to the set within a particular scene.
Stage Door Usual means of access to the backstage area for use by actors and crew members. Generally located at the back or side of a theatre building.
Stage Left The left side of the stage when facing the audience.
Stage Manager The member of the theatre crew who has overall charge of everything connected with the stage and backstage. This is the person who has responsibility for running the entire performance from opening curtain to final curtain call.
Stage Right The right side of the stage when facing the audience.
Stage Screw A large screw made so that is can be turned by hand. Used to fasten a stage brace or foot iron to the stage floor.
Stock Company See, Repertory Company. The name applied to theatre troupes in England in the 1850's who operated on a true repertory system, changing the play to be performed each night, sometimes in an order of rotation -- thus running through the company's entire repertory.
Strike To disassemble the set and remove it from the stage. At TCT this involves the return of all borrowed pieces and props, the storage and/or return of costumes, and the transportation of flats, platforms, braces, boat-trucks and the like to our storage warehouse.
Strip Light Low-wattage lamps, usually set in a metal trough, and used to illuminate a cyc, sky-drop or the back wall of flats on stage.
Subplot Secondary plot, or story-line, in a play.
Summer Stock A type of repertory theatre which, as the name implies, often presents its work during the Summer season. Generally, the repertory theatre of Summer Stock involves a weekly change of bill.
Suspension of
The goal of any theatre company in presenting or performing a play is to cause the audience to suspend their disbelief, or to momentarily forget that what they are watching is a performance, but is, in an emotional sense, "real".
Symbolism Use of symbolic pieces of scenery to represent more than their mere physical characteritics; for instance, using a saddle to represent a horse, or a chair to represent an entire room. As a discrete movement in the theatre, symbolism was a reaction in opposition to realism.