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Dramatic Genres Chapter 3.

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1 Dramatic Genres Chapter 3

2 Genre [zhahn – ruh] noun A class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like: the genre of epic poetry; the genre of symphonic music.


4 COMEDY High Comedy/Comedy of Manners: Rich and elegant characters
Concerned with how they behave. Most of the comedy is from the spoken word. Domestic Comedy: Revolves around the middle class The comedy comes from situations the characters are put in by the playwright (AKA Situation Comedy)

5 Comedy Continued Low Comedy:
Comedy comes from what the characters do rather than what they say. Dumb and Dumber Jackass High comedy, Domestic comedy, and Low comedy are all variations of the genre of comedy, because they all make us laugh, have plots with happy endings, and reaffirm values you hold to be important.

6 Farce Makes you laugh a lot! Eccentric and/or stereotyped characters
Road Runner & Coyote = Farce Eccentric and/or stereotyped characters The waiter who always drops his tray of glasses Speak in a very simple dialogue. Fast paced. Mistaken identities Lots of running in and out of doors and running into the characters they have been trying to avoid. Scooby-Doo and the Gang!

7 Farce Continued There is some violence but has no serious impact.
Running into doors Being hit on the head with frying pans Lots of physical comedy The impossible becomes possible and at all times and always mayhem prevails. COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE – partially scripted and partially improvised farce. Caricatures rather than characters Where we get “Slapstick” from

8 Drama A serious play that is not a tragedy.
Central character struggles for something that is believed to be worth desiring. This character is rooted for by the audience. When they fail we feel that we have failed. Reminds us that the world is not the way we wish it to be. The good die young The boy doesn’t get the girl No happily ever after Allows us to experience personal emotion without getting personally involved. The outcomes do not directly affect our own lives.

9 Tragedy Most misused term in theatre discussions.
Mainly because we have never experienced a tragedy – not in the theatre and not in our lives. (A death in the family is tragic but not a tragedy.) The term is usually applied to a play that tries to make us sad, but that is actually “Drama”. Tragedy is a serious play that tries to make you feel exhilarated because the hero’s experience teaches you some profound truth about your life. Actually guides you to a more calm existence.

10 Tragedy Continued Touches you directly.
You feel for the main character because you know that in order for them to achieve their goal they must destroy themselves or bring ruin to those around them in order to be true to themselves. Makes you feel proud for the existence of the characters but pity for what happens to them. You tend to come away from tragedy knowing something more about yourself.

11 Melodrama Comes from the days when music was played during the silent movies. Most interested in but touches us the least. Complex plots Two dimensional characters Many exciting twists and turns Usually teaches a moral Provides a diversion from life’s real problems. Characters that overcome physical challenges no real person could conquer.

12 Tragicomedy Leaves you feeling agitated, frustrated, and anxious.
Made up of partially serious subject matter of a tragedy and partially of the laugh-inducing stuff of comedy. Comes from the “Age of Anxiety” You laugh at the serious Cry at the funny The human condition seems more uncertain than ever. The bomb could drop Terrorists could blow us up at any time Our sense of safety is slipping away. Religion and Politics hold very little assurances for us as they once did. Tragicomedies reflect the truth of the human condition and try to make us feel anxious. “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett

13 End of Chapter 3

14 Theatrical Styles Chapter 4

15 Theatrical Styles Style: The word used to describe how an artist imitates reality. Six Theatrical Styles 1. Realism 2. Theatricalism 3. Expressionism 4. Surrealism 5. Classicism 6. Romanticism The six styles can be grouped into three related pairs: Objective Reality (Realism & Theatricalism) Shows us the world through a scientist’s eye. We are invited to evaluate things by what they look like and familiarity. Subjective Reality (Expressionism & Surrealism) Shows us how the artist feels about reality. Their feelings influence the way things look. Shows how sounds and dialogue can be unfamiliar. Idealized Reality (Classicism & Romanticism) The world is shown as being perfect. Shows how the artist wishes the world looked. People speak in beautiful poetry, break into song, and young lovers live happily ever after.

16 Objective Reality Realism
Dominant theatrical style of the past century. Based on the philosophy of Determinism. Determinism describes the truth of human nature and the audience believes that they can learn the truth by studying how characters behave in a play. People are “determined” by forces beyond our control. We are the product of our environment and our genetic inheritance. We are determined, behaviorally, by our socioeconomic circumstances and by the genes of our natural parents, intellectually. Dialogue imitates the speech of real people who have been shaped by their genetic inheritance. Realism imitates apparent reality in order to show us the truth.

17 Objective reality Theatricalism
Shows us the truth of our world by imitation our objective imitation of it, meaning, it imitates the way theatre imitates life. Based on the belief that, as Shakespeare wrote, “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” Conventions of theatre are broken down. Fourth wall destroyed. Narration of characters and plot. Pantomiming is involved where real props are not used. Bertolt Brecht and the Theatre of Alienation would fall under this heading.

18 Subjective reality Expressionism
Depicts violent and extreme emotions because it developed at a time when artists felt frightened by the way big government and big industry were exploiting people. Was born out of the rage felt by the expressionists at the way humankind was losing its freedom. Has an angry tone and a shocking appearance and expresses itself in violent language. Shows the world through the eyes of the central character. Scenery, costumes, and makeup designs became sharp and menacing. Only the central character is psychologically complex. Dialogue is filled with angry descriptions of violence.

19 Subjective Reality Surrealism Five Traits
Developed in France by Antoine Artaud. Images in our subconscious reveals the truth and that the truth can be beautiful, lyrical, and sometimes very funny. Five Traits Images are usually curvy rather than sharp in pastel colors. Space and time is relaxed, where things happen slowly in vast spaces. Images change into other images in front of your eyes, as in a dream. Metamorphosis has a playfulness to it. Transformation of words into images in a whimsical way.

20 Subjective Reality Continued
5. Its logic is associative as oppose to causal. Causal Logic: relationship in which one thing causes something else to happen: you fail a test because you did not attend class or read assignments. Associative Logic: describes how your mind moves from one idea to another through the associations between the two ideas instead of through direct causation: you think of the state of Utah, and you associate Utah with Mormons, etc….

21 Idealized reality Classicism
Truth can be learned if we use our powers of reason to create an ideal world. Moderation in all things. Rejects excess In human emotions In architectural design Important for balance and proportion in all things. Moderation is the path to happiness. Dialogue expresses how people ought to talk.

22 Idealized reality Romanticism
The belief that truth is discovered through feeling the emotions of our idealized image of perfection. Men and women are beautiful and happy. We should all speak elegantly Our homes and clothes should be beautiful. Stories are set “long ago and far away” and usually historical eras or mythical/magical times. King Arthur’s court The Three Musketeers Usually true to themselves no matter the cost. Thrilling adventures with multiple plots and locations.

23 End of Chapter 4

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