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Dramatic Genres.  GENRE Another word for kind Genre is also the root for our word “gender” Another word meaning genre is type Characteristics of GENRE.

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Presentation on theme: "Dramatic Genres.  GENRE Another word for kind Genre is also the root for our word “gender” Another word meaning genre is type Characteristics of GENRE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dramatic Genres

2  GENRE Another word for kind Genre is also the root for our word “gender” Another word meaning genre is type Characteristics of GENRE are not absolute, but it is a useful means of classifying plays

3 This concept of genre originated from the classification systems created by Aristotle and Plato. Plato divided literature into the three classic genres accepted in Ancient Greece: poetry, drama, and prose. Poetry is further subdivided into epic, lyric, and drama. The divisions are recognized as being set by Aristotle and Plato; however, they were not alone. Many genre theorists contributed to these universally accepted forms of poetry. Similarly many theorists continued to philosophize about genre and its uses, which caused genre as Plato and Aristotle knew it to evolve and further expand. AristotlePlatoliterature Ancient GreecepoetrydramaprosePoetryepiclyric drama AristotlePlatopoetry PlatoAristotle

4  “Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions.... TRAGEDY


6  According to Aristotle, ancient comedy originated with the komos, a curious and improbable spectacle in which a company of festive males apparently sang, danced, and cavorted rollickingly around the image of a large phallus (…giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "stand-up routine.") Accurate or not, the linking of the origins of comedy to some sort of phallic ritual or festival of mirth seems both plausible and appropriate, since for most of its history-- from Aristophanes to Seinfeld--comedy has involved a high-spirited celebration of human sexuality and the triumph of eros. As a rule, tragedies occur on the battlefield or in a palace's great hall; a more likely setting for comedy is the bedroom or bathroom. On the other hand, it's not true that a film or literary work must involve sexual humor or even be funny in order to qualify as a comedy. A happy ending is all that's required. In fact, since at least as far back as Aristotle, the basic formula for comedy has had more to do with conventions and expectations of plot and character than with a requirement for lewd jokes or cartoonish pratfalls. In essence: A comedy is a story of the rise in fortune of a sympathetic central character. COMEDY

7  Some examples of COMEDY

8  TRAGICOMEDY …a play or other literary work combining tragic and comic elements …since the early 17 th century, serious plays have been called tragicomedy when they do not adhere strictly to the structure of tragedy…and is sometimes referred to as a tragedy with a happy ending. …modern plays often rely on the mix of comic and tragic elements In the 17 th century, the neoclassicists called for a return to the two basic forms of tragedy and comedy, other “mixed” forms like tragicomedy were considered mixed and inferior…

9  Sometimes described as a “problem play,” this play has elements of comedy and tragedy and romance. The story shows how Helena, a doctor’s daughter, comes to the French court with a prescription to heal the King. He promises that he will enable her to marry the man of her choosing. She chooses Bertram who does not want to marry a commoner. In a “bed trick,” she takes him as a lover and takes his ring, conditions he has made to avoid her hand. When he returns from the war, she reveals her deceit and they are reconciled. All’s Well That Ends Well

10  In Chekhov’s tragicomedy – perhaps his most popular play – an aristocratic family cling to their sheltered lives in a picturesque estate while the forces of social change beat on the walls outside. Completely bankrupt, Lyubov Ranyevskaya returns with her daughter Anya from Paris to her childhood home, to the beautiful cherry orchard outside the house and to her grief. The estate is paralyzed by debt, but she and her brother refuse to save their finances by having the vast orchard cut down to build holiday cottages. Incapable of decisive action, they put the estate up for auction. Chekhov maintained that the play was a cheerful and frivolous comedy, but audiences have found its tragedy irresistible. The comedy is poignant; the tone is ambiguous, both farcical and piercing. The Cherry Orchard


12  FARCE

13  Other Genres Although most editors and theorists agree that there are numerous types of genres of drama, they do not agree on a set list of common types. Is comedy distinct from farce or satire, for example…

14  History Play Some examples… Shakespeare’s HENRY V Moises Kauffman’s LARAMIE PROJECT

15  Some examples… DARK COMEDY Peter Barnes’ RED NOSES  Jules Feiffer’s LITTLE MURDERS

16  Some examples… THE MUSICAL Rodgers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA Frank Loesser’s GUYS AND DOLLS Sondheim’s COMPANY ONCE (pictured)

17  From THEATRE by Robert Cohen Genre (from the French meaning “kind”) and is a highly subjective form of classification Tragedy Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, Death of a Salesman Comedy Lysistrata, The Cherry Orchard History Play Henry V Tragicomedy Amphytrion (Plautus) Dark comedy The Tempest, Endgame Melodrama The Octoroon, Dracula, Trifles Farce The Importance of Being Earnest Musical Oklahoma, The Rocky Horror Show Documentary The Laramie Project

18   Tragedy Satyr play  Folk drama Liturgical drama Mystery plays Passion plays Miracle plays Gwynn, DRAMA: A POCKET ANTHOLOGY  Comedy Comedy of manners Comedy of humours Drawing room comedy Comedy of ideas Black comedy  Melodrama Tragicomedy Problem plays

19  Comedy Tartuffe, The Importance of Being Earnest (high, domestic, low, manners) Farce A Flea in Her Ear, Servant of Two Masters, Road runner cartoons Drama Ghosts, The Glass Menagerie Tragedy Oedipus the King, Antigone, Electra Melodrama Inherit the Wind Tragicomedy The Bald Soprano, Waiting for Godot ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW by Markus and Sarver

20   Does such classification help us to better understand them?  Do definitions contribute to or detract from our understanding of things?  Why does our culture have so much invested in labels, tags and titles? Why do we classify dramas?

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