A drama is a story enacted onstage for a live audience. Origins of Drama The word drama comes from the Greek verb dran, which means to do. The earliest known plays . . . were written around the fifth
century B.C. produced for festivals to honor Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility Like the plot of a story, the plot of a play involves characters who face a problem or conflict.
Complications tension builds Exposition characters and conflict are introduced Climax point of highest tension;
action determines how the conflict will be resolved Resolution conflict is resolved; play ends Conflict is a struggle or clash between
opposing characters or forces. A conflict may develop . . . between characters who want different things or the same thing between a character and
his or her circumstances within a character who is torn by competing desires A tragedy is a play that ends unhappily. Most classic Greek tragedies deal with serious, universal themes such as right and wrong
justice and injustice life and death Tragedies pit human limitations against the larger forces of destiny. The protagonist of most classical tragedies is a tragic hero. This hero is noble and in many ways admirable
has a tragic flaw, a personal failing that leads to a tragic end pride rebelliousness jealousy
A comedy is a play that ends happily. The plot usually centers on a romantic conflict. boy meets girl boy loses girl boy wins girl
The main characters in a comedy could be anyone: nobility townspeople servants
Comic complications always occur before the conflict is resolved. In most cases, the play ends with a wedding. Modern Comedies In modern comedies, the genders in this
romantic plot pattern sometimes are reversed. A modern play may be tragedy, comedy, or a mixture of the two usually focuses on personal issues usually is about ordinary people
Modern playwrights often experiment with unconventional plot structures. long flashbacks visual projections of a characters private thoughts
music When you read a play, remember that it is meant to be performed for an audience. Stage Directions Playwright describes setting and characters actions and manner.
Performance Theater artists bring the playwrights vision to life on the stage. [Wyona is sitting on the couch. She sees Paul and jumps to her feet.] Wyona. [Angrily.] What do
you want? The audience responds to the play and shares the experience. Theater artists
include Actors Directors Lighting technicians Stage crew Stages can have many different sizes and layouts.
Thrust stage The stage extends into the viewing area. The audience surrounds the stage on three sides. In the round stage is surrounded by an audience on all sides.
Proscenium stage The playing area extends behind an opening called a proscenium arch. The audience sits on one side looking into the action. upstage stage right
stage left downstage Stages in Shakespeares time were thrust stages. Scene design transforms a bare stage into the
world of the play. Scene design consists of sets lighting costumes props A stages set might be realistic and detailed
abstract and minimal A lighting director skillfully uses light to change the mood and appearance of the set. The costume director works with the director to design the actors costumes.
Like sets, costumes can be detailed minimal Props (short for properties) are items that the characters carry or handle onstage. The person in charge of props must make sure
that the right props are available to the actors at the right moments. The characters speech may take any of the following forms. Dialogue: conversations of characters onstage Monologue: long speech given by one character to others Soliloquy: speech by a character alone onstage to himself or herself or to the audience
Asides: remarks made to the audience or to one character; the other characters onstage do not hear an aside Finally, a play needs an audience to experience the performance understand the story respond to the characters
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