The Structure of Drama : The Structure of Drama Slide 2: VOCABULARY
Antagonist – the person or force opposing the protagonist
Antecedent action – an explanation of events that have occurred before the action of the play begins; also known as preliminary situation.
Aristotle – Greek philosopher who described the key elements of a play.
Atmosphere – the environment of a play created by staging and lighting.
Chorus – a group of characters who are used in some forms of drama to inform the audience of the preliminary situation.
Denouement – term that describes the untangling of complications in a play and the resolution of these complications.
Dialogue – the spoken lines of a play.
Dramatic situations – the basis of all drama; Georges Polti suggests thirty-six of them.
Exposition – that which explains the where, when, why and who in a play. Slide 3: 10. Mood – the emotional feeling of a play.
11. Moral – a lesson or principle taught by some plays.
12.Motivation – the reason behind each action of a character.
Neoclassicists – French and Italian dramatists who relied on the use of the three unities: time, action, and place.
Plot – the series of related events that take place in a play, including the development and resolution of the major conflict.
Proscenium arch – structure that frames the stage, separating it form the auditorium.
Protagonist – the main character of a play.
Soliloquy – a speech in which an actor, alone onstage, thinks aloud, sharing his or her character’s thoughts and motives with the audience.
Tableau – in ancient Greek theater, a scene presented by silent, unmoving actors, showing the results of a violent act.
Theme – a basic idea that gives unity and purpose to a play. Slide 4: Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.
-Alfred Hitchcock, director Setting the Scene : Setting the Scene The play is the central element of the art of theater, brought to life by the actors.
A play has 4 Narrative Essentials: exposition, plot, characters, & theme.
These 4 elements are communicated through the dialogue and action of a drama. Aristotle’s key elements of a play : Aristotle’s key elements of a play Spectacle – the visible part of a play.
Sound – the audible part of a play.
Diction – language
Character – a person in a play.
Reasoning – the way speech is used to present all aspects of the play, including the production of emotions such as pity, terror, and anger.
Plot – the action and events of a play Exposition : Exposition The audience must know what kind of play is being presented, where and when it is taking place, who the leading characters are, and in what situations and conflicts they find themselves.
These facts show the literary setting. The process of making them apparent to the audience is called the exposition.
The exposition is usually printed clearly in the program or stated by one of the characters. Exposition con’t : Exposition con’t It also establishes the atmosphere and the mood of the play.
The most important part of the exposition is the preliminary situation (sometimes called the antecedent action). Activity – Read scenes of play and identify elements that reveal the where, when, why, and who of the play. : Activity – Read scenes of play and identify elements that reveal the where, when, why, and who of the play. Plot : Plot The plot of the play is the series of related events that take place before the audience.
It is the development and resolution of the major conflict.
There is usually a problem facing the protagonist. A conflict arises between the protagonist and the antagonist.
Whether physical, mental, or emotional, the conflicting elements must give rise to suspense and then be resolved in some manner. Plot con’t : Plot con’t Another term for the resolution of a play is denouement. It addresses the untangling of complications in a play and the resolution of these complications.
The situation is the predicament or problem the plot revolves around. Activity – Using Reader’s Theater plays, outline the elements of the plot.Recall several dramatic situations from plays or films. Do they fit on of Polti’s categories. : Activity – Using Reader’s Theater plays, outline the elements of the plot.Recall several dramatic situations from plays or films. Do they fit on of Polti’s categories. Characters : Characters The characters should be people who can hold the audience’s interest throughout the play.
They must be vivid and varied in personality, with their dominant traits made evident through their speeches and actions.
They are developed mainly through their words and actions and by what they say to and about one another. Characters con’t : Characters con’t Soliloquies are sometimes used to reveal characters. These are speeches in which actors talk alone – think aloud – about themselves and their motives or about other people and situations.
The most important phase of characterization is understanding your character’s motivation.
Every action of a character must have a reason behind it. To define the character’s motivation and personality ask: : To define the character’s motivation and personality ask: What does this character need or want?
Who or what stands in the way of the character’s needs or wants?
What conditions affect the character’s thoughts, words, and actions?
Why does this character say or do certain things? Theme : Theme The basic idea of a play, which the author dramatizes through the conflicts or characters.
Sometimes stated in words spoken by a character, but often is left to the interpretation of the audience or the reader.
The specific idea that gives unity and purpose to everything that happens. Theme con’t : Theme con’t Sometimes stated in the title.
Sometimes stated in a key line, emphasized or expressed by the leading character as a personal philosophy of life, and then carried out in the situations resulting from this philosophy. Slide 18: A moral, on the other hand, is a lesson or a principle contained within a play or taught by a play.
Many plays have no particular moral.
They are written to show how a certain type of individual would react under certain circumstances or simply to portray an interesting phase of life.