The Essence of Theater Productions

What is a Theater Production?

A theatrical production is a story acted out. It can take different forms and involve music and dance.

Dramatic theatre includes a wide range of genres from Shakespeare to modern farce. Theatre that expresses bleak and controversial subjects in a humorous way is called black comedy.

The Director conceives and develops the artistic vision for a show, sometimes aided by a Dramaturg. They work closely with the Designers, who assemble and implement the design elements.


A dramatic theater production involves a storyline and live performers, usually on stage, but also in nontraditional performance spaces. The storyline may be fictional, or it can involve other types of entertainment and excitement, such as musicals or dance exhibitions. The term “theatrical” encompasses both the imitation of another existence and simply the presentation of a story, but it can also be applied to nondramatic theatre. A play can be dramatic even if it does not have any character or action, such as a comedy or a farce, and an act can be nondramatic if it is entirely acrobatic, musical, or gestural.

Theater productions can take a variety of forms, from scripts and costumes to sets and props, lighting and sound, and direction. All have one thing in common, though: the audience and a specific space for the act. While the meaning of the word “theater” varies widely, most people would agree that a theatrical production must have some kind of storyline and actors who present it.

Actor: A person who portrays a character in a theatrical work. The actor’s job is to exhibit particular physical, including vocal, skills that develop and portray a character, and to interpret a piece of writing or other source material with emotion and thought.

Choreography: The creation of a series of movements and gestures that accompany music in a dance or other performance. Dance and acting are based on movement, but unlike acrobatics or other forms of body expressing, they are more concerned with conveying character than creating an imitation of reality.

Costumes: The clothes worn by the actors. Historically, costumes were simple and utilitarian, but as the theater evolved into an art form, designers began to create elaborate and symbolic clothing. Actors wear costumes to transform themselves into their characters and to express the ideas or emotions they want to convey.

Sets: The physical spaces where the acts are performed, ranging from simple backdrops to elaborate sets built in front of a curtain. Sets are designed to evoke the setting and mood of a play.

Lighting: The use of light to create different atmospheres and effects in a piece of theatre. Light can be used to accentuate certain parts of the stage, highlight key moments in a scene, and provide a sense of drama.

Props: Any object, except costumes or scenery, that is brought onto the stage during a performance. These can range from a teaser to a train.

Stage direction: The overall interpretation of a play by the director. This includes interpreting the meaning of the text and the meaning of the individual scenes as well as ensuring that all elements work together to produce a cohesive whole.

Suspense: The feeling of uncertainty about an outcome. Creating suspense is often a goal of the director in order to draw the audience into the play.

Ritual: A prescribed form or ceremony; drama grew out of religious ritual. Dramatic climax: The point of highest tension in a play, or the turning point that leads to a resolution or ending.

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