Pamela Coleman-Smith created the artwork for the Rider Waite (or now called Smith Waite) tarot deck. Pamela did a lot of artwork for theater productions and it is thought that it may be why some of the images on the minor arcana appear to be on stage. These ‘stage cards’ have a line running between the protagonist and whatever is depicted in the image.
Examples of stage cards are (from left to right below) the 10 of cups, 10 of Wands, 2 of cups, 4 of wands, 5 of swords, 9 of wands, 2 of swords, 7 of swords, 8 of pentacles, 6 of pentacles, page of cups and 2 of pentacles.
No one knows for sure why these particular cards are depicted as if in front of a painted backdrop on stage. It may be interpreted as the meaning of the cards are not real or projections.
Some say the 5 of pentacles appears as if the 2 figures are walking in front of a curtain.
These additional details of the cards offer different ways to interpret them in a reading. Your intuition will help decide how to interpret on of these cards. Do they appear to be performing on stage or is the situation conjured up from their imagination or a projection? Is there something else going on behind-the-scene that your client is unaware of?
As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage…”
Amberstone, Ruth Ann + Wald; Tarot Tips; 0738702161