Glossary

Art Deco – a modernist international style popular from 1920 to 1940. Based on geometric shapes and purely decorative, it appeared in architecture, fashion, advertising and visual arts. Art Deco defined the look of the Roaring Twenties 

Art Nouveau – an international decorative style beginning in 1890 and lasting until 1905, it derived its flowing lines from the world of botany, especially flowers. Art Nouveau appeared in architecture, home décor, fashion, posters, and decorative arts of all kinds

Avant garde – the term applies to those in the forefront of change and innovation, whose work is characterized by daring and resistance to what has gone before

Bauhaus (Movement) – emerging out of a German school founded by architect Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, it operated until 1934 when its own leadership closed it under pressure from the Nazis. Based on an approach combining fine arts and crafts, it became a hugely influential movement in Modernist architecture, and shaped subsequent developments in art, and graphic, interior and industrial design.

Beaux Arts – the elaborate and formal architectural style characterized by symmetry and sculptured ornamentation, often seen in large public buildings

Complementary – that which completes or makes a whole

Complementary colours – two colours when mixed together create a third colour. Either of a pair of colours on the spectrum whose combination gives a white light

Conceptor – one of a group of theatre artists who take part in the scenographic process (the collective discussion and conceptualizing of the visual world of a theatrical production)

Deus ex Machina – Originally a mechanical device in ancient Greek theatre allowing a god to appear above the scenery at the end of a play and resolve the plot conflicts; now, any unexpected or incredible solution that arrives out of the blue and at the last minute

Director – the person responsible for all artistic decisions in a theatrical production, working in collaboration with the artistic team, and the technical team. The director casts and rehearses the actors and oversees the integration of all the elements of a production

Contemporary – belonging to the same age; living at the same time in history

Elevation (architectural) – an external view of a building/structure seen from one side; a flat representation of one façade, showing all details of the structure seen from one direction, and labeled in relation to the compass direction it faces (east elevation)

Esthetics (Aesthetics) – the study/philosophy of the nature and forms of beauty

Expressionism – a cultural movement beginning in Germany at the start of the 20th  century, beginning in poetry and painting, later appearing in architecture, music, literature, film, dance, theatre. An avant garde phenomenon, reacting to earlier trends in art, it sought an entirely subjective look at the world, with vivid and distorted effects mirroring emotional states

Farce – an extreme form of comedy characterized by fast action, physical hijinks, exaggerated situations

Front of House – the part of a theatre that is open to the public, as opposed to the stage and backstage. Front of house activities include box office, ushers, anything happening in the foyer area

Ground Plan – the layout of a building, structure, stage as seen from above, presented one-dimensionally

Iconic – adjective derived from an icon, a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The term used here refers to that which is a symbol or image for something else; i.e. a name, face, picture, building or person recognized as having some well-known significance or embodying certain qualities. (The historic musical theme of Hockey Night in Canada was iconic)

Impressionism – a movement in art beginning in France in the 1880s, in which visible brush strokes, an emphasis on light, a sense of movement and the depiction of ordinary objects were characteristic

Laterna Magikaa theatre company located in Prague which debuted at Expo 58 in Brussels, made its Canadian debut at Expo 67 and is considered key in the development of modern Czech theatre. The non-verbal performances combine dance, film, theatre, and technology, and feature parallel projections on multiple screens interacting with live performers. Renowned designer Josef Svoboda, along with Alfréd Radok, was a founder

Lighting (LX) Designer – in theatre, the artist who designs the theatrical lighting for a production

Literal – that which is restricted to the stated meaning, using no imagery or figurative language; also, unimaginative, factual, avoiding inference

Maquette – the three-dimensional scale model of the set for a theatrical production intended as a guide for construction

Metaphor – a figure of speech that compares two unlike things in order to draw similarities. It is an implied comparison, and doesn’t use “like’ or “as.” For example, if the relationship were a jazz duo, she was the clarinet

Minimalism – chiefly an American style in painting and sculpture, developing in the 1960s. It turned its back on decoration, illusion, emotional responses, and embraced a pared-down simplicity of form. Its influence is also seen in music, design, architecture, theatre, literature and dance.

Modernism – the characteristic 20th century break-with-the-traditional-past approach to art, architecture, religion, music, literature; a tendency toward skepticism and the questioning of traditionally held beliefs; experimentation in form and process

Monograph – a written work, pamphlet, book or essay dealing with one subject

Mood – the feeling or atmosphere conveyed to the audience by what is seen and heard on stage

Octagon, octagonal – a polygon having eight sides and eight angles

Pediment – in architecture, the broad triangle usually above a door, derived from Classical buildings

Period – in theatre, a term referring to the fact that sets and costumes were created to suit a particular historical time; i.e. the play’s actors wore period costumes

Plan (architectural) – the scale drawings of a building, or, in theatre, the stage set

Production Manager – the person who oversees the entire design and technical sides of the production process and is responsible for budgeting, hiring, design approval, logistics, scheduling, and the creation of all elements

Realism – a general movement in 19th Century theatre aiming to emphasize real life on stage through theatrical texts, and performances, as opposed to a heightened or sentimentalized version of life

Scenic Designer – the artist responsible for envisioning the look of the theatrical set, drawing up the plans and creating the maquette that will assist the production team to cost and build it

Scenography – the conceptualization of all of the elements contributing to the atmosphere and mood of a theatrical presentation by a collective creative process involving artists who work in lighting, sound, set and costume design.

Section (architectural plans) – a cross section (also simply called a section)  is a vertical plane cut through the structure in the same way as a floor plan is a horizontal plane viewed from above

Set Dresser – the person who adds the decorative articles (set props) to the set as required; i.e. pictures on a wall, clutter on a desk

Setting – the place and time of the action: e.g., a beach on the coast of Nova Scotia, an early July morning in 1960

Set – what the audience sees onstage that determines location and time/period: the room, structure in which the action develops

Status – the relative position of a person or things when compared to others (often having to do with social and economic comparisons); e.g., his status as a playwright was much higher after he won the Governor General’s Award

Theme – the main idea or message of a work of art