Dance A precursor, if not the earliest form of theatre. Dance in primitive theatre has evolved into the choreography of Broadway musicals, ballet, and interpretative theatre.
Denouement Also called "falling action", it is the part of the play following the climax, during which events and conflicts are brought to their final resolution.
Deus ex Machina Literally, the god from the machine. Refers to the character (usually a god) in classical Greek tragedy who enters the play from the heavens at the end of the drama to resolve or explain the conflict. This actor was usually lowered by means of a crane-like device known as a mechane. The term has come to mean any arbitrary means of plot resolution.
Dialogue Passages of speech between characters in a play.
Dimmer A device used to control the intensity of light. Elaborate racks or systems of dimmers, controlled by analog or digital means, can be used to achieve complete control over lighting and mood in a production.
Directing Translating the play from the written script to the interpretation and action which takes place on stage.
Director The person charged with overall interpretation of a dramatic work, who conducts the rehearsals, blocks the action and assists the actors in developing their characters.
Downstage Stage direction: the front of the stage, or that portion of the stage closest to the audience.
Drama A literary work, such as a play, that tells a story through dialogue intended to be performed by actors. In theatre, the quality of being dramatic. In modern usage, the term drama has come to denote mean the opposite of comedy.
Dramatic Theory Study and analysis of the dramatic arts, their form, construction, values and their impact on society.
Dramatic Values Those aesthetic features of a play or production which contribute to the overall impact it has on the audience.
Dramatist A playwright, or one who writes plays.
Drapes See, curtain. The "main" or "grand" drape is used to separate the audience from the stage. Drapes may also be used to mask or divide areas of the stage, or to mask backstage areas and the wings from the stage.
Dress Rehearsal Rehearsal, usually late in the schedule, just before actual performances, in which lighting, costumes, makeup, costume changes, set changes, properties, sound effects, and special effects are used. Also called a "full dress rehearsal".
Drop See, cloth. A piece of cloth, often painted to depict scenery, which is lowered from the grid to set a scene.