In theatre, blocking is the precise staging of actors in order to facilitate the performance of a play, ballet, film or opera. Historically, the expectations of staging/blocking have changed substantially over time in Western theater. Prior to the movements towards “realism” that occurred in the 19th century, most staging used a “tableau” approach, in which a stage picture was established whenever characters entered or left the stage, ensuring that leading performers were always shown to their best advantage. In more recent times—while nothing has changed about showing leading performers to best advantage—there have been changing cultural expectations that have made blocking/staging more complicated. There are also artistic reasons why blocking can be crucial. Through careful use of positioning on the stage, a director or performer can establish or change the significance of a scene. Different artistic principles can inform blocking, including minimalism and naturalism.
Toward or at the front of a theatrical stage.
Towards a motion-picture or television camera.
At the front of a stage.
The part of a stage that is closest to the audience or camera.
To restage (a cancer) to a lower stage than that found at last assessment (compare upstage).
The part of a stage that is farthest from the audience or camera.
toward or at the rear of a theatrical stage.
“The actor turned and walked upstage.”
away from a motion-picture or television camera.
At the rear of a stage.
“The minimalist play used no upstage scenery.”
To draw attention away from others, especially on-stage.
“She only wore that dress to upstage everyone.”
To force other actors to face away from the audience by staying upstage.
To treat snobbishly.
To restage (cancer) to a higher stage than that found at last assessment (compare downstage).