Theatre Information

Setography Defined

By • Mar 5th, 2009 • Category: ShowBizRadio

For my recent stage managing run of Prince William Little Theatre’s Pippin, one of my duties included coordinating the set changes, which were to only be done by the Players (the ensemble). Our set was made up of one large, stationary platform and six periactoids. A periactoid is a movable, triangular set piece. Each periactoid was six feet long on two sides, with the remaining side three feet long, and eight feet tall. Each side had a different banner hung on it, to set the appropriate scene (the forest, the fruit trees, Catherine’s estate, Pippin’s life (yes, that is four sides, tricky, weren’t we?)). So I came up with my plan, which was basically another type of choreography, I had to match up the partners, a cast member with a periactoid. I didn’t want to explain my “periactoid choreography” to the cast using that phrase, as it was quite a mouthful. So I created the word “setography.”

And that word stuck. Everyone knew when I was talking about setography, I was referring to the movement of the periactoids, and not their dance choreography.

At the WATCH Awards on Sunday night, John K. Monnett, director of Sweet Smell of Success at the Arlington Players referred to the moving of their periactoids as periaktography. Which unfortunately, I find to be a bit of a mouthful, and too limiting. Setography can be used to describe any kind of changes made to the set by cast or crew. Periactography is limited to dealing with the challenges of using periactoids on stage.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College.