Long before starting the working drawings of a set, the importance of the floor plan is realized. A designer continually thinks of the plan while the idea of the setting is developed. The plan grew with the design, pushed one way for aesthetic reasons, altered another way for practical reasons, modified for staging reasons, and, finally, solidified into the key working drawing and information center -- the floor plan.
To explain the design of his set adequately, the designer finds it necessary to refer often to the plan. The carpenter consults it to lay out the construction. The director and stage manager are unable to map out the staging without understanding and studying the plan. The setup, rigging, and lighting depend on information in the plan to complete the final assembly of the set on the stage.
As has been mentioned, the floor plan is a horizontal section with the cutting plane passed at a level that shows (when the upper portion of the set is removed) the most characteristic view of the shape of the set. Because a stage set is made up of many small units of scenery, the floor is also an assembled view. The floor plan, then, reveals the horizontal shape of the set, locates it on the stage, shows the scenery assembled, and identifies with labels the units and pieces that make up the complete set.
The floor plan is usually drawn at the scale of ½" = 1'0". At this scale, it is necessary to use symbols and conventions to help explain the set with a limited amount of detailed drafting. Most of the symbols are familiar ones and the use and meanings are logical enough if it is kept in mind that a plan is a sectional view.
Inasmuch as the walls of the set, or units of scenery, are cut by the sectional view, they are drawn in a heavyweight section outline. The cross section of framed scenery is less than an inch; consequently, at small scale it is customary to represent it in plan as a solid black line rather than section outlines and crosshatching.
The heavy section outline of the wall is stopped at openings. If the opening is a door or archway, it is bridged with a dotted line indicating a header over the opening. A break in the section outline without the dotted lines is interpreted as a separated wall unit without a connecting header. A door can be identified quickly if it is drawn ajar with an arc and arrowhead to show the direction the door swings. The arc and arrowhead is a light- weight line and it can also be used to note