Introduction to DRAMA Lecture I+II
It is usually in dialogue form.
Drama comes from Greek words meaning “to do” or “to act”. It is a literary composition that centers on the actions of fictional characters. It is usually in dialogue form.
i.e, it is written primarily to be performed, not read.
The main characteristic of drama, which distinguishes it from other literary genres, is that it is a performing art, i.e, it is written primarily to be performed, not read.
Therefore, drama is a presentation of action through:
1. actors 2. on a stage 3. before an audience.
The playwright cannot directly comment on the action or the character and cannot directly enter the minds of characters and tell us what is going on there.
1. Soliloquy or aside, 3. One character commenting on another.
But there are ways to get around this limitation through the use of: 1. Soliloquy or aside, 2. Chorus, 3. One character commenting on another.
and the most communal of all literary works.
As a result, plays are: the most immediate, the most intense, and the most communal of all literary works.
They are immediate because they are acted out and performed immediately and physically on a stage in front of an audience, intense because they are short, i.e. what is said is concentrated into few hours, and communal because they are enjoyed, viewed and judged by a group of people, audience, who have specially gathered to view them.
Drama on stage often reflects the drama of everyday life.
An audience directly observes the action of drama and its significance is immediately obvious. No matter how complex the story and its characters and background, it must be conveyed in a few hours. Drama on stage often reflects the drama of everyday life. Since plays are written with the intention of performance, the reader of the play must use his/her imagination to enact the play as he/she reads it. Readers of the play need to imagine feelings or flow of action as well as how the action and the characters look in a theater, on a stage, before a live audience.
Elements of Drama Plot Setting Theme Character Dialogue Point of view
Plot has been called the body of a play.
It is the sequence of events or incidents of which the story is composed. It is simply the story of the play. It should have a beginning, middle and an end. A good plot should not have any unjustified or unexpected turns, no false leads and no misleading information. It is structured with acts and scenes.
1. The most important element of plot is conflict, which is the clash of actions, ideas, desires or wills. It is the problem that the main characters in the play have to resolve. As the plot advances, we learn how the conflict is resolved, either through action or through major changes in the attitudes or personalities of the characters.
2. Action is generally introduced by the exposition, information essential to understanding the situation. The action rises to a climax, which is the turning point after which the action changes. This movement is called the rising action. The falling action, which follows the climax, shows a change of fortune for the protagonist, the central character. In a tragedy this change leads to disaster; in a comedy, it leads to a happy ending.
3. The resolution is the moment when the conflict ends and the outcome of the action is clear.
The characters are the people that are in the story.
Characterization is the process by which a writer makes the character seem real to the reader.
showing the character’s appearance,
It is a method used by the writer to develop a character and it includes: showing the character’s appearance, displaying the character’s actions, revealing the character’s thoughts, letting the character speak, and getting the reactions of others.
1. Major characters 2. Minor characters Most plays contain:
1. Major characters: The audience learns a lot about their backgrounds, likes, dislikes, hopes, fears, prejudices, strengths or weaknesses. In drama, the central character is called the protagonist who engages the reader’s interest and empathy. The forces working against him, whether persons, things are the antagonists. The antagonist stands directly opposed to the protagonist and gives rise to the conflict of the story.
2. Minor characters: These are not fully developed but may be useful for advancing the plot, contributing to the theme or shedding light on a major character.
Qualities of a personality may be either physical and superficial (external)
or psychological and spiritual (internal). Characters can possess both types of traits.
1. External characteristics
names physical appearance physical nature manner of speech and accent manner of dress social status class education friends family community interests
2. Internal characteristics:
Thoughts Feelings Emotions
It must stick to the following requirements:
It is the controlling idea of the play. It has been called the soul of a play. It must stick to the following requirements: It must account for all the major details of the story. It must not be contradicted by any detail of the story. It must not depend on facts not actually stated or clearly implied by the story.
It is the time and place in which the events in a play occur.
A setting may serve simply as the physical background of a play, or to establish a particular atmosphere, which in turn contributes to the plot and theme of the play. It adds meaning and historical context to what characters do and say in the drama.
It provides the substance of a play.
It is the verbal exchange between characters. It provides the substance of a play. Dialogue makes the characters seem real to the reader or audience by revealing their thoughts, responses, and emotional states. Each word uttered by the character contributes to the effect of the play as a whole. Therefore, what is said should be appropriate to the role and situation of a character.
Forms of dialogue: 1. Soliloquy: a brief speech, not meant to be heard by other characters, that reveals a character's thoughts to the audience. 2. Monologue: a long speech that can function as the entire dialogue of an act or even of a play. 3. Aside: a character's thoughts, shared with the audience, while others are on stage.
This element is specific to drama.
Stage direction is the playwright's descriptive or interpretive comments that provide readers and actors with information about the dialogue, setting, and action of a play. Modern playwrights tend to include substantial stage directions, while earlier ones typically used them more implicitly, or not at all. There are different types of stage directions such as:
1. The opening stage direction needs to get to the point
1. The opening stage direction needs to get to the point. A few playwrights feel compelled to write paragraphs here, but most tell us only very briefly where we are, who's there, and when it's happening. 2. Character stage directions are placed directly under the character name or between the lines of dialogue of a single speech. Most playwrights use this kind of stage direction. 3. General stage directions within acts or scenes stand alone in the manuscript. They're single-spaced and usually deal with physical action or a combination of physical action and lighting or sound effects.
Elements of a performed text
Character Dialogue Space Action
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