• Gaurav Singh

150+ Performing Arts Spanish Words & Vocabulary You Should Know

Being a technical crew member in any performing arts endeavour is a challenging and often, a confusing job if you're just starting out. However, if you're also touring your performance in a country that doesn't speak your native language, it's even more chaotic!


In July 2019, we travelled to Spain with our play Marta La Piadosa to participate in AlmagroOFF, the world's largest classical theatre festival.


(Here's a review of how the performance turned out!)


We were a big creative team of 13 people which included many language-students-turned-actors. Then there was me – the group's production manager who doubled up as a light and sound operator for the performance. This meant that I was the one tasked with the technical coordination of the lights/sound design with the staff at the venue we were performing at, all of whom, surprise surprise, only spoke Spanish!


A View From The Tech Box

I remember looking up Spanish words for spotlight, downstage, fade, focus and other stage-related terms before the flight but had blanked out completely on the day. Since I knew the basics of the language, I was able to communicate with the staff with the help of my directors and we were able to execute the lights and sound plan and go on to put on a fabulous show, in spite of the logistical (and linguistic!) challenges that came up.


If you're reading till this point in this blog, chances are you're probably someone who has had a similar experience already (I feel for you!) or you're someone who may be travelling to a Spanish-speaking country soon with a performing arts project (pandemic permitting, of course). That's why we've decided to compile a list of thirty handy theatre terms in the Spanish language – covering different areas like text, performance, research and analysis, stagecraft, scenography, production, venue and the 'lingo' you may hear off stage and on stage.


Let's dive in!


📖 Text (el texto)

  • Act(s) - el acto / los actos

  • Antagonist / Protagonist - el or la antagonista / el or la protagonista

  • Aside - aparte

  • Character - el personaje

  • Role - el rol or el papel

  • Chorus / Ensemble - el conjunto

  • Classic - clásico

  • Climax - el clímax

  • Conflict - el conflicto

  • Contemporary - contemporáneo

  • Drama, Comedy, Farce, Mystery, Fantasy - la tragedia, la comedia, la farsa, el misterio, la fantasía

  • Environment - el ambiente / el entorno

  • Genre - el género

  • Lines / Dialogues - las líneas

  • Monologue - el monólogo

  • Mood - el ambiente

  • Narrator - el narrador

  • Plot - el argumento

  • Prologue / Epilogue - el prólogo / el epílogo

  • Scene - la escena

  • Script - el guión

  • Setting - el marco

  • Stage Direction - la acotación

  • The End - el fin

  • The Start - el principio


💃 Performance (la realización)

  • Action - la acción

  • Audience - el público / los espectadores

  • Audition - la audición

  • Blackout - el oscurecimiento

  • Blocking - el movimiento

  • Casting - la audición

  • Cold Reading - la interpretación basica

  • Cue / Beat - el pie or la entrada

  • Curtain - el telón

  • Dress Rehearsal - el ensayo de vestuario

  • Ensemble - el conjunto

  • Full Run-Through - el ensayo general

  • Gabbling - parloteo

  • Gesture - el gesto

  • Improvisation - improvisación

  • Mask - la máscara

  • Rehearsal - el ensayo

  • Rhythm - el ritmo

  • Staging - la escenificación

  • Voice - la voz


✍️ Research and Analysis (interpretación y análisis)

  • Adaptation - la adaptación or la interpretación

  • Character Analysis / Study - análisis de personaje

  • Cultural Context - contexto cultural

  • Edition - la edición

  • Historical Context - contexto histórico

  • Motivation - la motivación

  • Pathos - patetismo

  • Repertoire / Collection - el repertorio

  • Social Context - contexto social

  • Status - el estatus

  • Subtext - el trasfondo

  • Synopsis - el resumen or el sumario

  • Translation - la traducción or la versión


🤼 Team (el equipo)

  • Actor - la actriz or el actor

  • Assistant - la/el asisente

  • Cast / Creative Team - el elenco or el reparto

  • Choreographer - la coreógrafa or el coreógrafo

  • Crew / Technical Team - Equipo técnico

  • Critic / Reviewer - la crítica or el crítico

  • Director - la directora or el director

  • Dramaturg - el dramaturgo

  • Light Designer - diseñador/a de luz

  • Musician - la musica or el musico

  • Playwright - la autora or el autor / la escritora or el escritor

  • Producer - la productora or el productor / la realizadora or el realizador

  • Prompter - la apuntadora or el apuntador

  • Set Designer - diseñador/a de escena

  • Sound Designer - diseñador/a de sonido

  • Stage Manager - la regidora or el regidor

  • Understudy - la / el suplente

  • Usher - el acomodador


👗 Stagecraft (escenario)

  • Backdrop - el fondo

  • Costume - el vestuario

  • Make-Up - el maquillaje

  • Masking Tape - cinta adhesiva

  • Multimedia - multimedia

  • Puppets - las marionetas

  • Screen - la pantalla

  • Stage Properties / Props - la utilería / el decorado / las propiedades


💡 Scenography (escenografia)

  • Lights / Light Board - panel de luces

  • Sounds / Sound Board - panel de sonidos

  • Focus / Widen - enfoca la luz / ensancha la luz

  • Increase / Decrease - aumentar la luz / disminuir la luz

  • Loud / Quieter - sonido alto / sonido bajo

  • More / Less - mas / menos

  • Better / Worse - mejor / peor

  • Centre Stage - el centro

  • Stage Lights - la iluminación

  • Footlights - las candilejas

  • Front of House Lights - primera fila de luces

  • Spotlight - el foco or "El espot"

  • Profile - luz de perfil

  • Soundscape - paisaje sonoro

  • Sound Effect - efecto de sonido

  • Fade In - encender lento

  • Fade Out - oscurecer or desvanecer

  • House lights - luces de sala

  • Mixer / Panel - mezclador


📋 Production (producción)

  • Applause - el aplauso

  • Brochure / Pamphlet - el folleto

  • Credits - los créditos

  • Documentation - la documentación

  • Duration - la duración or el duro

  • Entry with Invitation Only - Entrada solo con invitación

  • Free Entry - entrada gratuita

  • Free Entry with Prior Registration - entrada gratuita con registro previo

  • Full House - lleno

  • Intermission - el entreacto or el intermedio

  • Language - el idioma or el lenguaje or la lengua

  • Limited Entry - entrada limitada

  • Performance / Show - la representación or la actuación

  • Premiere - el estreno

  • Press Night - la noche de prensa

  • Sold Out (Tickets) - (entradas) agotadas

  • Technical Box - Caja técnica

  • Ticket (Stub) - la entrada or el bilette


🏛️ Venue (teatro / sala)

  • Aisle - el pasillo

  • Arena - la arena

  • Balcony - el balcón

  • Behind the Curtain - el foro

  • Blackbox - Black Box Teatro

  • Box Office - la taquilla or la boletería (in Latin America) or la ventanilla (lit. small window)

  • Curtains - los paneles or el telón

  • Cafeteria - la cafetería or el café

  • Dressing Room / Green Room - el vestuario

  • Entrance / Exist - la entrada / el mutis

  • Gallery - la galería

  • Mezzanine Seats - el entrepiso or el entresuelo

  • Off-Stage - fuera del escenario

  • On-Stage - en el escenario

  • Platform / Stage - la plataforma or el escenario

  • Proscenium - proscenio

  • Seat - la butaca

  • Stage Left - la derecha del escenario

  • Stage Right - la izquierda del escenario

  • The Front Row - la primera fila

  • Upstage / Downstage - fondo / el primer plano

  • Wings - el bastidor / los bastidores


🗣️ Lingo (lenguaje)

  • Blooper - la metida de pata / la metedura de pata

  • Break A Leg - mucha mierda

  • Bring the House Down - morirse de risa a todos

  • Good Luck - mucha mierda

  • In The Wings - entre bastidores

  • Let's Do It Again – Una vez más

  • Make An Entry - haz una entrada

  • Make An Exit - haz una salida

  • Standing Ovation - ovación de pié

  • Take A Bow - saludar al público / recibir aplauso


Note:

  1. Most phrases above are presented without conjugation; the verb part of the phrase will change depending on first/second/third person and singular/plural usage

  2. In case you're not familiar with the Spanish language, una/un are indefinite articles (e.g. a/an) while el/la/los/la are definite article (e.g. the)

  3. Since the Spanish language has many different dialects and slangs, its possible specific terms may vary country to country but treat this list as a base resource

Phew! Deseo que tengas todo lo que necesitas para expresar tus ideas y diseños de teatro a cualquier persona que encuentras en el teatro 🙂


Till then, I hope you're a little more prepared with your Spanish vocabulary when you walk into the theatre and are caught indefenso!


P.S. Want to keep learning? Check out this blog post with even more performing arts related vocabulary in Spanish.


Planning to make theatre inspired by Latin American culture or interested in taking your performance to a Spanish-speaking country? We'd love to know and collaborate with you!


We at Kaivalya Plays are the only performing arts group with dedicated cultural programming in the Spanish language. Our sister company El Clavileño is India's only theatre troupe that performs exclusively in Spanish.



Since 2012, we have brought works by many Latin American authors to the Indian stage and have frequently collaborated with institutions like Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi and the Embassies of Argentina, Spain, and Ecuador in India. We have adapted and staged texts by Julio Cortazar (Goodbye Robinson), Jorge Luis Borges (El Aleph, Blue Tigers, The Sand Book, Funes the Memorious), Pablo Palacio (A Man Kicked To Death) and Griselda Gambaro (Say Yes). Our recent production Luz Negra was our 11th cultural project with Latin American roots and our 5th project completely in Spanish.


Get in touch with us at contact@kaivalyaplays.org for a collaboration.