2 Basic Drama DRAMA: Greek origin meaning “to do” or “to act” All DRAMA springs from life:People - Problems - Particular Time & Place
3 Writing a Play is an Art as well as a Craft Basic Play WritingWriting a Play is an Art as well as a Craft
4 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” 1.Theme: The ability to say what the circumstances allow and what is appropriate to them(the central idea that emerges from the dramatic action of the play)THEME IS NEVER A MESSAGE OR A STATEMENT IMPOSED UPON THE ACTION BY THE PLAYWRIGHT
5 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” 2.Plot: The arrangement (structure) of the incidents in a storyWHO IS DOING WHAT TO WHOM WHERE, WHEN AND WHY?
6 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” ELEMENTS OF PLOTPoint of Attack: The point of time in the play when the dramatic action beginsExposition: Incidents or events from the past or happenings outside of the play of which the audience must be aware of in order to comprehend characters and plot
7 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” ELEMENTS OF PLOTC. Preparation: The earlier “planting” of certain information, so that a particular character or scene will be believableD. Conflict: An internal struggle within one person or between two or more characters; THE HEART OF THE PLOT
8 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” ELEMENTS OF PLOTE. Complications: The introduction of a fact or character already in the play that grows out of the conflict and delays the climaxF. Crisis: The protagonist has to make a major decision that is also a key turning point in the dramatic action.
9 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” ELEMENTS OF PLOTG. Dramatic Question or Problem: The suspense question related to the fate of the central character’s major goal.H. Climax: The highest emotional peak in a play.
10 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” ELEMENTS OF PLOTI. Resolution: The point after the climax, during which any remaining questions are answered
11 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” 3. Characters: The agents of the incidentsA. Central Characters: These are characters around whom the dramatic action revolves or who have the dominant objective in the playB. Opposing Characters: These are characters who provide the basic obstacles by blocking the central character’s objectiveC. Contributing Characters: These are characters who line up with other characters
12 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” 4. Music: Any music that may appear in the play5. Dialogue: The diction of the play. Simply, it is what the character says and how he or she says it, be it street language, poetry or slang6. Spectacle: The embellishments of a play. All the visual elements: scenery, costumes, lighting, movement, gestures, and other elements.
13 Aristotle’s “Parts of a Play” Aristotle’s Two Major Production StylesSTAGE AS A PICTUREThese are attempts to create a realistic picture or illusion of life as though you were peeking through a fourth wallSTAGE AS A PLATFORMPresents life on stage rather than represents a picture. State is a stage, no pretense of realism
14 TYPES OF PLAYSA. Tragedy: Themes are serious in depth and worthiness; the central character (hero) struggles to overcome overpowering obstacles but instead is overcome by them, resulting in deathB. Drama: Themes are serious in nature; but unlike tragedy, the central character in overcoming obstacles does not die at the end of the play
15 TYPES OF PLAYSC. Melodrama: Themes are exaggerated in their seriousness; the central characters overcome villains in sensational plots usually crowded with action and conflictD. Comedy: A humorous play with light or serious themes whose central characters succeed in overcoming all obstacles (High Comedy, Serious Comedy, Satire, Farce, Situation Comedy & Low Comedy)
16 TYPES OF PLAYSE. Fantasy: A serious or humorous play in which “unreal” characters with human traits overcome obstacles in a land of make-believeF. Allegory: A play serious or humorous, often written in a poetic or fairy-tale style feature abstract characters
17 A Word About Definitions… DON’T GET TRAPPED BY DEFINITIONS OR TERMS - WRITE YOUR PLAY AND LET OTHERS TELL YOU WHAT THEY THINK IT IS.
18 TYPES OF PLAYS G. One-Act: One Sitting - One Setting - One Sighting Should impress upon its audience one basic idea or theme explored as fully as possible within a short time spanShould have only ONE single dramatic actionShould have only a FEW charactersShould NOT contain long “talky” speechesShould use only ONE set
19 HOW TO WRITE A ONE-ACT SHOW VS. TELL The essential difference is that a story TELLS what took place, while a play SHOWS what is actually taking place (The stage shows what we see in our minds on the page)DRAMATIC CLOCKOn the stage there is a built in urgency, a “dramatic clock” of sorts, which helps to coalesce elements of conflict, crisis, and suspense to heighten the emotional response of the audience
20 HOW TO WRITE A ONE-ACT PAST VS. PRESENT TENSE The action of the play takes place in a “perpetual present time.” On the stage it is always “now.”UNITY OF ACTION, TIME AND PLACEThe incidents of the play occur in a unifying way that will make sense to an audience member
21 HOW TO GET STARTED1. GET AN IDEA: Ideas come in two forms - Personal Experience & Imagined Experience
22 COMMON MISTAKES DON’T OVERLOAD THE INCIDENTS IN A PLOT DON’T USE A NARRATOR OR CENTRAL CHARACTER TO TELL EVENTS - WHEN THE EVENTS CAN BE DRAMATIZEDDO NOT CRAM AN IDEA DOWN THE AUDIENCE’S THROAT - YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A PHILOSOPHER OR SAINT YOUR ONLY REQUIREMENT IS ART
23 TIPS & TRICKS KEEP A JOURNAL FOR IDEAS & NOTES WRITE A BUNCH AT ONE TIMENOTHING IS TRULY ORIGINAL – DON’T STRESS ABOUT COPYING OR FOLLOWING ANOTHER PLOTPLOT OUT FIRST – THEN WRITE DIALOGUEVOICE IT FOR PARTICULAR PEOPLE