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a play by Lorraine Hansberry

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1 a play by Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin in the Sun a play by Lorraine Hansberry

2 But First… Some General Notes on Drama
Understanding Elements and Terminology

3 Elements of Drama The elements of drama, by which dramatic works can be analyzed and evaluated, can be categorized into three major areas: literary elements, technical elements, and performance elements. 1) Literary elements 2) Technical elements 3) Performance elements

4 Literary Elements These include: character, conflict, theme, language, style, all elements of the plot, etc.

5 Technical Elements Includes scenery, costumes, props, lighting, sound, makeup, etc.

6 Performance Elements Includes, acting, character motivation and character analysis, empathy, speaking and nonverbal expression Speaking: the mode of expression or delivery of lines Breath control: proper use of the lungs and diaphragm muscle for maximum capacity and efficiency of breath for speaking Vocal expression: how an actor uses his or her voice to convey character Inflection: change in pitch or loudness of the voice. Projection: how well the voice carries to the audience Speaking style: the mode of expression or delivery of lines Diction: selection and pronunciation of words; clarity of speech.

7 Nonverbal Expression Gestures any movement of the actor’s head, shoulder, arm, hand, leg, or foot to convey meaning Body alignment physiologically correct posture and use of the body to ensure the maximum capacity and efficiency of breathing and movement Facial expression physical and vocal aspects used by an actor to convey mood, feeling, or personality Character blocking the path formed by the actor’s movement on stage, usually determined by the director with assistance from the actor and often written down in a script using commonly accepted theatrical symbols Movement stage blocking or the movements of the actors onstage during performance; also refers to the action of the play as it moves from event to event.

8 Literary Terms of Drama You should understand all of the following terms:
Aside Comic relief Dialogue Diction Dramatic monologue Fourth wall Pathos Soliloquy Stage directions Staging Subplot Great resource for definitions of these terms:

9 Tips for making it easier to understand
Reading Drama Tips for making it easier to understand

10 What makes drama? Reading drama is different from reading fiction because it is so much spaser. The author tells the reader or actor very little about the characters, usually only in the stage directions which the viewers of a play don't see. Both actor and reader, then, have to read the stage directions carefully and to make inferences from what is learned about characters in the dialogue. From what the characters say, you have to construct an interpretation of who they are.

11 Characters Plot in drama is largely defined by the interactions between CHARACTERS. So there are two things you need to figure out.

12 #1 What happens and has happened to each character and who they are as a result of these events.
We call this finding the "through-line". A good way to establish a through-line is to think about motivation: What makes each character tick? What do they want, what motivates their actions and words? What do we find out about the history of each character in the play? What does their past tell us about them now?

13 #2. How the characters interact.
We call this finding the "cross-lines". Understand how the characters relate to each other. What is each character's relationship with every other character?

14 Plot Determine how many acts the play has. That will give you clues about what should be happening in each part. Generally, a traditional play will set the scene, introduce a problem, follow that problem to its logical conclusion, reach the final conflict and then offer a resolution. This could happen in anywhere from one to five acts.

15 Theme Pay attention to other things the author emphasizes:
What ideas and concerns are repeated, brought up again and again? What ideas have the strongest, most vivid imagery and/or figurative language associated with them? What would you identify as the most important line in the play? How does the title fit in?

16 Back to… A Raisin in the Sun
a play by Lorraine Hansberry

17 Acclaim for Raisin A Raisin in the Sun garnered much acclaim and commotion when it opened at the Barrymore Theater in New York in 1959. First black play ever to be produced on Broadway Won the New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Play of the Year

18 Lorainne Hansberry Her family moved into an all-white neighborhood, where they faced racial discrimination. She attended a predominantly white public school while her parents fought against segregation. Her father engaged in a legal battle against a racially restrictive covenant that attempted to prohibit African American families from buying homes in the area. The legal struggle over their move led to the landmark Supreme Court case, Hansberry v. Lee (311 U.S. 32, 1940)

19 More on Hansberry Though victorious in the Supreme Court, Hansberry's family was subjected to what she would later ironically describe as a "warm and cuddly white neighborhood". This experience later inspired her to write her most famous work, A Raisin in the Sun. Her family home at 6140 S. Rhodes Ave. has since been designated a City of Chicago landmark.

20 From Lorainne Hansberry’s “To be Young, Gifted, and Black”
"25 years ago, my father spent a small personal fortune, his considerable talents, and many years of his life fighting, in association with NAACP attorneys, Chicago’s ‘restrictive covenants’ in one of this nation's ugliest ghettos. That fight also required our family to occupy disputed property in a hellishly hostile ‘white neighborhood’ in which literally howling mobs surrounded our house. My memories of this ‘correct’ way of fighting white supremacy in America include being spat at, cursed and pummeled in the daily trek to and from school. And I also remember my desperate and courageous mother, patrolling our household all night with a loaded German Luger (pistol), doggedly guarding her four children, while my father fought the respectable part of the battle in the Washington court."

21 Historical Context The play is considered a turning point in American lit. because it brings to light many important American issues of the 1950s. 1950s = often mocked today because of the images of complacency and conformism, as symbolized by the growth of suburbs and commercial culture. (Leave it to Beaver) However, this view is superficial at best.

22 More historical context
Major 1950’s American Stereotypes: happy housewives, African American’s content with their inferior status. This led to social resentment that was realized in the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960s.

23 Elements specific to Raisin
Uses black vernacular throughout the play (nonstandard language - normal spoken form of language - often relating to a specific place, region, or country) Broaches important issues and conflicts, such as poverty, discrimination, and the construction of African-American racial identity. Explores the tension between white and black society and the strain within the black community over how to react to an oppressive white community

24 Feminism in the play Hansberry addressed feminist questions ahead of her time. Through the character of Beneatha, Hansberry proposes that marriage is not necessary for women and that women can and should have ambitious career goals. The play also approaches an abortion debate (abortion was illegal at this time).

25 Home economics for women in the 1950’s
1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed. 2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work- weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift. Listen to some more…

26 Basics for reading a play

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