Delivering a compelling show that keeps its viewers on the edge of their seats is the main goal of any theater group. But presenting a spectacular stage production, be it a musical or a play, is no walk in the park as it requires a great deal of preparation.
To mount an impressive show, you need to incorporate a number of elements in your stage production. These include stage backdrops, drapes, props, sound system, lighting, costumes, and makeup. By having these on your stage, you can encourage the best acting from your performers, leading to the finest viewing experience you can offer to the audience.
Paying special attention to these important theater elements will elevate your show’s production value:
Immersive stage backdrops
The stage backdrop breathes life into the surroundings of a play. Without it, a stage will look bare and dull. Because they are the most visible part of the set, backdrops serve as the best indicator of the setting and mood of a scene. They can help actors immerse themselves in the right atmosphere, leading to better performances. Your spectators will also be more captivated by the rich design of different backgrounds.
The backdrop of your stage can be composed of painted or printed panels or a simple large curtain, but most shows use painted ones. However, since crafting your own backdrop by hand can be difficult and pricey, many groups opt to rent a few panels from companies like Grosh. From realistic NYC backdrops to majestic and beautiful mountain backdrops, Grosh offers a wide variety to choose from. If none of their pre-constructed pieces suits the purpose of your production, you can commission a custom backdrop for your stage.
Proper and useful theater drapes
Theater drapes and curtains obscure the view of unwanted distractions (like rigging and the backstage) and serve as a frame for the stage. Additionally, by opening or falling, curtains can also signal the beginning or ending of a scene.
Despite their seemingly simple appearance, theater drapes can be used to create a variety of effects when used as a background. For example, an Austrian puff curtain can produce cascading glimmers, while a metallic curtain can create the illusion of rain under proper lighting. These effects can be very useful in brightening up a dramatic scene.
While the versatility and functionality of drapes and curtains are undeniable, buying your own for the stage can be expensive. To save money without compromising the look and quality of your production, consider renting high-quality theater drapes for your show.
Props (short for “properties”) are items that appear on stage during a performance. Things like an antique telephone, a collection of chairs, and even the sword or spear of the main protagonist are props. These moveable objects provide a physical anchor that can help actors get into character. Simply put, without props, a theatrical experience would be incomplete and your production will look bland and unexciting.
Having sturdy, realistic-looking props on your stage will raise the bar of your show. But you don’t need to spend a fortune just to get these items. Just look for simple DIY crafts or recycle stage props from previous shows to do the trick.
High-quality sound system
Music and sound are vital elements in any stage production as both can set the mood, provide context, and cue the audience on what’s about to happen. Sound transmitting systems also play a crucial part in every show. After all, your audience won’t understand what a performer is saying or singing without the use of a proper microphone setup. As such, you need to have an excellent sound system that includes high-quality microphones and speakers.
The setup of your speakers should also enable your performers to hear well on stage. Why? Well, your actors rely on sound cues to guide their line delivery. It is also advisable to place stage monitors and surround-sound speakers in key spots in a large theater. This way, the audio can be heard consistently throughout the different sections of the venue.
Great lighting effects
Stage lights aren’t just there to help the audience see the actors better or to enhance visibility on the stage. By manipulating the intensity, placement, and color of production lights, you can emphasize or enhance the environment, mood, or feeling of a scene. If the scene calls for a solemn atmosphere, you can dim the lights down. During a play’s tense confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist, use red lights or double spotlights. Theater lighting also allows you to use special effects like strobes, UV, or gobos.
Appropriate costumes and makeup
The main characters of the stories adapted for theater have identifying pieces of clothing or physical features that clue you in on who they are and what role they play. Little Red Riding Hood has her famous red cloak, the Phantom of the Opera has his iconic white mask, and Wicked’s Elphaba has green skin. You can even tell which character is a peasant, a royal, or a villain based on their looks.
As such, your skilled performers need the appropriate costumes, accessories, and makeup to turn into their characters. Since your actors will be the ones conveying the story to your viewers, it’s important that what they wear on their bodies and faces reflects the personality and traits of the roles they play. Wigs, full-face or body makeup, and prosthetic body parts partnered with well-designed costumes will help your actors transform into completely different people.
Mounting any kind of stage production can be tough, but if you know what to do and what you need, you can be cost-effective and time-efficient. With careful planning, an impressive set design, high-quality lights and sounds system, and well-prepared costumes, you are sure to enthral your audience with a riveting show.