Wednesday, July 30, 2008


What is DRAMA?

Drama comes from Greek words meaning "to do" or "to act." A play is a story acted out. It shows people going through some eventful period in their lives, seriously or humorously. The speech and action of a play recreate the flow of human life. A play comes fully to life only on the stage. On the stage it combines many arts those of the author, director, actor, designer, and others. Dramatic performance involves an intricate process of rehearsal based upon imagery inherent in the dramatic text. A playwright first invents a drama out of mental imagery. The dramatic text presents the drama as a range of verbal imagery. The language of drama can range between great extremes: on the one hand, an intensely theatrical and ritualistic manner; and on the other, an almost exact reproduction of real life. A dramatic monologue is a type of lyrical poem or narrative piece that has a person speaking to a select listener and revealing his character in a dramatic situation.

Classification of Dramatic Plays

In a strict sense, plays are classified as being either tragedies or comedies. The broad difference between the two is in the ending. Comedies end happily. Tragedies end on an unhappy note. The tragedy acts as a purge. It arouses our pity for the stricken one and our terror that we ourselves may be struck down. As the play closes we are washed clean of these emotions and we feel better for the experience. A classical tragedy tells of a high and noble person who falls because of a "tragic flaw," a weakness in his own character. A domestic tragedy concerns the lives of ordinary people brought low by circumstances beyond their control. Domestic tragedy may be realistic seemingly true to life or naturalistic realistic and on the seamy side of life. A romantic comedy is a love story. The main characters are lovers; the secondary characters are comic. In the end the lovers are always united. Farce is comedy at its broadest. Much fun and horseplay enliven the action. The comedy of manners, or artificial comedy, is subtle, witty, and often mocking. Sentimental comedy mixes sentimental emotion with its humor. Melodrama has a plot filled with pathos and menacing threats by a villain, but it does include comic relief and has a happy ending. It depends upon physical action rather than upon character probing. Tragic or comic, the action of the play comes from conflict of characters how the stage people react to each other. These reactions make the play.

What makes a Drama a Drama?

* A dramatist should start with characters. The characters must be full, rich, interesting, and different enough from each other so that in one way or another they conflict. From this conflict comes the story
* Put the characters into dramatic situations with strongly plotted conclusions
* The plot should be able to tell what happens and why
* The beginning, should tell the audience or reader what took place before the story leads into the present action. The middle carries the action forward, amid trouble and complications. In the end, the conflict is resolved, and the story comes to a satisfactory, but not necessarily a happy conclusion.
* It should be filled with characters whom real people admire and envy. The plots must be filled with action. It should penetrate both the heart and mind and shows man as he is, in all his misery and glory.

Elements of Drama

Most successful playwrights follow the theories of playwriting and drama that were established over two thousand years ago by a man named Aristotle. In his works the Poetics Aristotle outlined the six elements of drama in his critical analysis of the classical Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex written by the Greek playwright, Sophocles, in the fifth century B.C. The six elements as they are outlined involve: Thought, Theme, Ideas; Action or Plot; Characters; Language; Music; and Spectacle.

1. Thought/Theme/Ideas

What the play means as opposed to what happens (the plot). Sometimes the theme is clearly stated in the title. It may be stated through dialogue by a character acting as the playwrights voice. Or it may be the theme is less obvious and emerges only after some study or thought. The abstract issues and feelings that grow out of the dramatic action.
2. Action/Plot

The events of a play; the story as opposed to the theme; what happens rather than what it means. The plot must have some sort of unity and clarity by setting up a pattern by which each action initiating the next rather than standing alone without connection to what came before it or what follows. In the plot of a play, characters are involved in conflict that has a pattern of movement. The action and movement in the play begins from the initial entanglement, through rising action, climax, and falling action to resolution.
3. Character

These are the people presented in the play that are involved in the perusing plot. Each character should have their own distinct personality, age, appearance, beliefs, socio economic background, and language.
4. Language

The word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors of the language. Language and dialog delivered by the characters moves the plot and action along, provides exposition, defines the distinct characters. Each playwright can create their own specific style in relationship to language choices they use in establishing character and dialogue.
5. Music

Music can encompass the rhythm of dialogue and speeches in a play or can also mean the aspects of the melody and music compositions as with musical theatre. Each theatrical presentation delivers music, rhythm and melody in its own distinctive manner. Music is not a part of every play. But, music can be included to mean all sounds in a production. Music can expand to all sound effects, the actor's voices, songs, and instrumental music played as underscore in a play. Music creates patterns and establishes tempo in theatre. In the aspects of the musical the songs are used to push the plot forward and move the story to a higher level of intensity. Composers and lyricist work together with playwrights to strengthen the themes and ideas of the play. Character's wants and desires can be strengthened for the audience through lyrics and music.
6. Spectacle

The spectacle in the theatre can involve all of the aspects of scenery, costumes, and special effects in a production. The visual elements of the play created for theatrical event. The qualities determined by the playwright that create the world and atmosphere of the play for the audience's eye.


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