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Andersen Library

April 21, 2015
8:30am - 4:30pm

Glossary of Stage Terms

Advertising curtain

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "A." A romantic or idyllic scene that was surrounded by a painted ornate frame and swagged curtains, reminiscent of the painted drop curtain. The pictorial frame, or architectural surround incorporated local product and service advertisements. The cost of drop was often paid for by the business community. Sometimes these advertising spaces would be re-sold for another theatre season, requiring re-painting or a partial "touch-up" to occur.

Asbestos curtain

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "ASB." A backdrop constructed of asbestos that would function as a fire curtain. The composition is often reminiscent of that depicted within a drop curtain. The label "asbestos" often functioned as a title block below a pictorial representation and would reassure the theatre patrons of there safety in the event of a fire.

Conservatories

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "C." An elaborate glass-enclosed room with an abundance of tropical vegetation. Fountains and statues often complete this lush appearance. This subject also includes an interior composition that depicts a palatial interior, or veranda, that overlooks a garden.

Cycloramas

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "CYC." Initially a variety of entertainment that surrounded the audience with painted scenery. This term ultimately referred to a large drop that was used to surround the stage, often representing a blue sky. Within the Twin City Scenic Collection, this term also applies to interior setting entirely created from draperies.

Drop curtain

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "D," or "DC." The most elaborate piece painted by the scenic artist that traditionally hung at the front of the stage. Compositionally, the drop curtain contained a romantic or idyllic scene that was surrounded by a painted ornate frame and swagged curtains. This scenic element harmonized with the interior decoration of the opera house or theatre.

Drop curtains (fabric)

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "D," or "DC." Actual fabric, or an ornately painted version of swagged draperies that hung at the front of the stage. These renderings do not include a pictorial scene at the center of the composition.

Drop curtains (painted)

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "D," or "DC." The portrayal of a pictorial scene that was surrounded by a picture frame, another form of architectural ornamentation, or draperies.

Gardens

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "G." A backdrop setting of a garden scene. Walkways, fountains, statues, peristyle and other garden structures are common features incorporated into this type of composition.

Horizons

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "H." A backdrop setting that incorporates a strong horizon line within the composition. Often the subject incorporates some sort of seascape.

Interiors

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "I." A backdrop scene also referred to as a "center door fancy."

Interiors. Decorative

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "I." An interior composition rendered in a "modern" scenic art style. The majority of these pieces date from the 1915 or later. Eugene Gilboe and Calvin Brown are two artists whose work is indicative of this style.

Interiors. Historical

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "I." An interior composition rendered in a "traditional" scenic art style. The majority of these pieces pre-date the 1920's. The work of John Z. Wood is indicative of this historical style.

Interior model

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "IM." A box setting that is constructed from illustraition board and may be manipulated in a variety of ways to remain free standing within a theatre model.

Interior model piece

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "IMP." An additional scenic elements, such as tormentors, teasers, properties, or other scenery that many accompany interior models.

Landscapes

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "L." A backdrop with a composition that depicts rolling hills and a few trees. A trail often leads toward the distant horizon line.

Masonic

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "M." Scenery designed for a variety of fraternal orders that include: The Ancient and Accespted Scottish Rite Temple of Freemasonry (Scottish and York Rites); the Shrine; the Blue Lodge (first three introductory degrees) of Freemasonry; The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (M.O.V.P.E.R.) Grotto; and The Tall Cedars of Lebanon.

Masonic models

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "MM." Scenic elements that that included wall murals, set pieces, hand properties, fabric curtains, tormentors, teasers and other theatrical elements besides backdrops.

Model pieces

Scenic elements that were fairly generic and could be utilized for a variety of purposes when displaying a theatre model. These pieces are often individual items that would accompany the colored rendering for a backdrop.

Mountains

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "MT." A backdrop that depicts mountainous regions.

Olios

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "O." An usual piece of scenery whose origin is unknown. The term olio comes from the Spanish word, olla, meaning wide-mouth jar or stew pot, and, true to its definition, the olio drop provided a background of various subjects or locations for a potpourri of entertainment. It was often utilized for musical segments inserted between theatrical acts or productions.

Palaces

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "P." A backdrop depicting a variety of palatial rooms. These spaces include, grand staircase, entryways, sitting parlours and other ornate living quarters.

Picture sheets

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "PS." Early movie screens. A backdrop composition dominated by a central white triangle. This element was often framed by architectural or organic structures and drapeies.

Rocky passes

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "RP." A backdrop that depicts a rugged mountain scene with a distant valley.

Sample interiors

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "SI." Colored renderings for ceiling panels, architectural ornamentation, theatrical draperies or other decorative ornamentation within the theatre space.

Sketches

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "SK." Pencil sketches for theatrical compositions that were never rendered in color.

Streets

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "S." A backdrop that depicts commercial or residential street scenes. Traditional compositions are initially based on European cities and sites. Later the composition reflected American depicting of urban communities.

Stock scenery

Generic backgrounds required for both plays and civic events.

Tormentors

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "T." The vertical flats flats the form the side elements of the false proscenium. The subject matter includes, trees and other foliage, garden structures, draperies, and other interior architectural structures.

Teasers

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "T." A short horizontal drape used for concealing a theatre's fly system. Synonym for border. The subject matter often includes treetops, clouds and/or draperies.

Woods

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "W." A backdrop that depicts a woodland scene. Rivers, pathways, bridges and meadows are common scenic elements incorporated in this composition.

Woods. Decorative

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "W." A woodland composition rendered in a "modern" scenic art style. The majority of these pieces date from the 1915 or later. Eugene Gilboe and Calvin Brown are two artists whose work is indicative of this style.

Woods. Historical

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "W." A woodland composition rendered in a "traditional" scenic art style. The majority of these pieces pre-date the 1920's.The work of John Z. Wood, as in thumbnail example above, is indicative of this historical style.

Wood model pieces

Twin City Scenic Company categorization, "WMP." Scenic elements that would accompany a woodland backdrop.