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A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO STAGE LIGHTING
to the location of the leg line, so the initial marks are
made to either stage left or stage right. The measuring
tape, attached to this T, is laid out to either side, par-
allel to the snap line chalk of the plaster line, offstage
into the wings. After being tightened, the measuring
tape is then used as the basis for the downstage quar-
ter line light lines (9-0), the portal leg lines (18-0),
the frontlight focus strips (7-0 and 14-0), and the
front of the sidelight boom lenses (26-0).
Define Up Center
In many theatres, several marks have been made
adjacent to or on the back wall denoting centerline.
When no one can agree on which mark is the one
and true centerline, all the existing marks are graffiti.
When it’s important to the show to have confidence
in the up center mark, re-define the upstage centerline
to your own satisfaction employing two (matching)
tape measures. Each tape is attached to a matching
point on each side of the proscenium arch, typically
at the corners of the proscenium. They are then laid
out diagonally, so that the two spools of the measur-
ing tapes cross over each other close to the upstage
wall. After the tapes are tightened, the two tapes are
adjusted until the distances of both tapes match.
Figure 11.7 shows the two matching distances
overlapping at 37-1½. Presuming that both tapes
are equal, the matching distance must be on center-
line. The new improved upstage centerline point is
marked, and then a second snap line is often applied
to define the entire upstage/downstage length of
centerline.
Once the snap line has been removed, one mea-
suring tape is then reattached to the downstage
taped reference cross, and laid out running straight
upstage on the snap line. Since the master system
groundplan has been drawn indicating distances
from plaster line, the taped cross will be used as
the downstage reference point. Once the measuring
tape has been laid out and tightened, the centerline
marks made on the master system groundplan will
be duplicated onto the stage. For visual clarity, the
three different zone marks are often made in differ-
ent colors. The frontlight zones may be marked first
(3-0, 10-0, and 16-0), followed by the down-
light zones (8-6 and 16-0), and finishing with the
backlight zones (5-6 and 180). The center-center
“X”(13-10) is placed as an intermediate point of
reference. Finally, the upstage light line “T” (25-2)
is spiked.
The measuring tape can then be attached to the
upstage center T, and laid out to stage left or right,
parallel to the plaster line. After being tightened,
the upstage quarter line light line T’s can be spiked
(9-0), along with the onstage edge of the #4 leg
3 7
1
2
3
F
37
1
2
3
F
BACK WALL
MEASURING TAPE
MEASURING TAPE
UPSTAGE
CENTERLINE
TAPES CROSS
@ 37'-1 1/2"
Figure 11.7 Crossed-Over Measuring Tapes Defining Up Center

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