Drama

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Drama:

What Is Drama? Structure of a Drama Kinds of Plays Tragedy Comedy Modern Drama Performance of a Play The Stage The Characters Review Practice Drama Feature Menu

What Is Drama?:

A play is a story acted out, live and onstage. What Is Drama? [End of Section]

Structure of a Drama:

Like the plot of a story, the plot of a drama follows a rising-and-falling structure. Climax tension at highest point Resolution conflict is settled, play ends Complications tension builds Exposition conflict is introduced Structure of a Drama [End of Section]

Kinds of Plays:

A play may be a tragedy, a comedy, or, in modern drama, a mixture of the two. A tragedy depicts serious and important events that end unhappily. A comedy ends happily. Although most comedies are funny, they may also make us think and question. Kinds of Plays

Kinds of Plays:

Which plot would be a tragedy, and which would be a comedy? Kinds of Plays Quick Check 1. A young woman wants to marry her love, but her mother disapproves of him. After many setbacks, the suitor wins the mother’s approval and the lovers marry. 2. A young man, blinded by passion, worsens a feud between his family and his lover’s. The play ends with the deaths of the two lovers. [End of Section]

Kinds of Plays:

Kinds of Plays Quick Check 1. A young woman wants to marry her love, but her mother disapproves of him. After many setbacks, the suitor wins the mother’s approval and the lovers marry. 2. A young man, blinded by passion, worsens a feud between his family and his lover’s. The play ends with the deaths of the two lovers. Comedy Tragedy Which plot would be a tragedy, and which would be a comedy?

Tragedy:

Most classical tragedies deal with serious subjects—fate, life, and death—and center on a tragic hero. Tragic heroes Innocent heroes ambition excessive pride rebelliousness passion are usually noble figures have a tragic flaw, a personal failing that leads to their downfall Tragedy [End of Section]

Comedy:

In a comedy, the characters usually face humorous obstacles and problems that are resolved by the end of the play. Comic heroes may be ordinary people instead of nobility eventually overcome their flaws and achieve happiness Comedy

Comedy:

The conflict in comedies is usually romantic. Someone wants to marry but faces an obstacle—opposing parents or rival suitors. Comedy [End of Section] Complications can involve misunderstandings, mistaken identities, disguises, or transformation. The obstacle is always overcome.

Modern Drama:

Many of today’s dramas can’t be neatly defined as either comedy and tragedy. Modern plays often mix the serious with the humorous focus on characters that audiences will identify with rather than look up to Modern Drama [End of Section]

Performance of a Play:

Plays are meant to be performed. A play comes to life in each unique performance. Stage Directions Playwright describes setting and actions Interpretation Actors, directors, and designers interpret these directions creatively Performance Audience experiences the story through the actors’ speech and actions Performance of a Play [End of Section]

The Stage:

A stage is like a small world unto itself. A stage can be grand or intimate has its own coordinates upstage downstage stage left stage right The Stage

The Stage:

The stage’s set might be A set can be changed from scene to scene— sometimes with machinery and sometimes with just a change in lighting. realistic and detailed The Stage abstract or minimal

The Stage:

Other important elements of set design are costumes and props. Costumes tell us about the characters and the time and place. They can be elaborate or minimal. Props are items that the characters carry or handle onstage. The Stage [End of Section]

The Characters:

deciding how to interpret and speak the lines of the play The actors and director bring characters to life by building on the playwright’s stage directions for actions and movements The Characters [Mary takes off her jacket and faces the audience.] Mary: Can I make it on my own?

The Characters:

Characters’ speech takes the form of Dialogue — conversation between characters Monologue — a long speech by one character to one or more other characters Soliloquy — a speech by a character alone onstage, speaking to himself or herself or to the audience Asides The Characters [End of Section]

Review:

What are the stage directions in this passage? Is this more likely to be a comedy or a tragedy? Why? Review [End of Section] Quick Check [Gwendolen and Cecily are at the window, looking out into the garden.] Gwendolen. The fact that they did not follow us at once into the house . . . seems to me to show that they have some sense of shame left. Cecily. They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance. Gwendolen. [After a pause.] They don’t seem to notice us at all. Couldn’t you cough? from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Review:

[Gwendolen and Cecily are at the window, looking out into the garden.] Gwendolen. The fact that they did not follow us at once into the house . . . seems to me to show that they have some sense of shame left. Cecily. They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance. Gwendolen. [After a pause.] They don’t seem to notice us at all. Couldn’t you cough? from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Review Quick Check What are the stage directions in this passage?

Review:

Comedy—it describes a silly situation in a humorous tone. Review Quick Check Is this more likely to be a comedy or a tragedy? Why? [Gwendolen and Cecily are at the window, looking out into the garden.] Gwendolen. The fact that they did not follow us at once into the house . . . seems to me to show that they have some sense of shame left. Cecily. They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance. Gwendolen. [After a pause.] They don’t seem to notice us at all. Couldn’t you cough? from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Practice:

Choose a play or movie you remember seeing, and discuss its dramatic elements. Start by describing the set (or sets). Then, describe the actors’ costumes. Next, evaluate the characters’ dialogue —was it convincing? clever? silly? Finally, write a few stage directions, based on what you imagine them to have been. Practice [End of Section]

The End:

The End

Structure of a Drama:

Conflict is a struggle or clash between opposing characters or opposing forces. External conflict is a character’s struggle against an outside force, such as another character, society as a whole, or something in nature. Internal conflict is a struggle between opposing needs, desires, or emotions within the character. Structure of a Drama

Tragedy:

Innocent Heroes Some tragedies, such as Romeo and Juliet, portray the suffering of innocent characters who are not responsible for their own downfall . Tragedy

The Characters:

Aside Sometimes a character speaks to the audience or to another character in an aside, dialogue that is not supposed to be heard by the other characters onstage. The Characters

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