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Docudrama A style of comedy.

A dramatisation based around an actual event. Involves improbable and ridiculous situations,
disguise, mistaken identity, verbal humour and
Usually contains or quotes facts and quotes
a fast paced plot which gradually increases;
from actual sources and also embellishments.
usually culminating in a fast chase scene at
Can include any style of theatre. the end.

An example is, “Too Much Punch for Judy.” People are, in essence, all idiots. Makes a good
companion of satire.
Epic Theatre
Examples include The Comedy of Errors by
A style that was popularised by Bertolt Brecht. Shakespeare and Fawlty Towers, starring John
Its main goal is to make sure that the audience
is always aware that it is watching a play, "It is
most important that one of the main features
of the ordinary theatre should be excluded Feminist Theatre
from [epic theatre]: the engendering of
illusion." Plays that are written by women, for women
and about women.
Techniques include:
They deal with women’s issues such as birth,
• Alienation (Verfremdungseffekt) women’s rights, motherhood and female
• Comedy
It followed the political feminist movement of
• Minimal set design 1968, but became more subtle due to a
redefining of the word ‘feminism’ as equality
• Gestus and stereotypes
became more prevalent in the late 20th and
• Music early 21st Century.

• Breaking the Fourth Wall

The techniques are designed to allow the

usually political or social message of the play
to be as clear as possible.
Stephen Berkoff

Born in Stepney, East London in 1937.

Uses heavy physical theatre, called “Total Black comedy
Theatre” – “the language is usually filthy,
characters talk about unmentionable subjects, A style where taboo subjects are treated with
take their clothes off, have sex, humiliate each humour and satire, while retaining the
another, experience unpleasant emotions, seriousness.
become suddenly violent. At its best, this kind
Makes light of subjects such as rape, murder,
of theatre is so powerful, so visceral, that it
suicide, terminal illness and war.
forces audiences to react: either they feel like
fleeing the building or they are suddenly Came to prominence in America during the
convinced that it is the best thing they have 1950’s and 1960’s.
ever seen, and want all their friends to see it
too. It is the kind of theatre that inspires us to Notable writers of black comedy include
use superlatives, whether in praise or William Faulkner, Philip Roth, Mark Twain and
condemnation." George Bernard Shaw, among others.

Wrote adaptations of Franz Kafka books,

including “Metamorphosis.”
Actor, usually plays villains.
Regards human suffering as a form of
Commedia Dell’arte
entertainment for an audience.
Originated in Italy.
Originated in Ancient Greece.
Refers to improvised comedy.
Among the most famous tragedies are those
Usually about love or tricks to get money. written by Shakespeare, such as Macbeth,
Othello and Hamlet.
Most plays contained roughly the same
characters. For example, a plotting maid, an Characterised by seriousness and traumatic
old father, a wily servant. events to evoke pity and fear from the
Masks, stock gestures and catchphrases were
prevalent in this genre. Common use refers to any story with a sad
The comedy was farcical, and often physical,
with acrobatics.
Irish Drama
Kitchen Sink Drama
Usually very bleak and pessimistic.
Created in England.
Involves Irish life and history, particularly civil
war and war, and terrorism. Set in rougher, poorer parts of England,
usually the North.
Can involve the departure of a character to
another country. Includes common Northern accents.

(From “Depicts the real and often trashy side of life.”

• families and honest banter between Usually have a political or societal message.
family members
• a bleak, often sorrowful and nihilistic Examples are Coronation Street and
landscape Shameless, which, by extension, doesn’t say
• idiosyncratic rhythms of speech,
different dialects and unusual sentence Melodrama
• honest, good, entertaining humour Apparently so bad that most of the world were
• naturalistic settings, such as a kitchen, trying to make new versions of Theatre (See
often in an impoverished household or Naturalism and Epic Theatre).
a bar
• a general fondness for alcohol Involves the heavy use of music to denote
• real action e.g. baking soda bread, usually one dimensional character types. For
making tea, putting away shopping, example, a hero would enter to the sound of
pulling a beer … trumpets, while the villain would enter to the
• dysfunctional families
sound of ominous chords.
• a strong tradition of storytelling
• a ghost scene The emotions and plot / action are
• lively music, poetry and/or dance, even
emphasized, rather than the characters, like in
the music of Irish speech patterns
• an element of magic a drama.
• representations of family breakdowns
Contains “a limited number of stock
• Unionism and other divisions in political
and religious beliefs characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine,
• memory an old man, an old woman, a comic man and a
• love comic woman engaged in a sensational plot
• the courage of one’s convictions featuring themes of love and murder. Often
• wit and pain the good but not very clever hero is duped by
• the dream to break away from the a scheming villain, who has eyes on the
damsel in distress until fate intervenes at the
end to ensure the triumph of good over evil.”

Popularised by Constantin Stanislavski .

Involves the goal of creating an illusion of real
life on stage. Like naturalism, but most of the conflict comes
from human morals and emotional inner
Involves deep, three dimensional and realistic thoughts and beliefs, rather than physical
characters. obstacles.

Detailed, non exotic settings. Moral and inner character conflict.

As realistic as possible, so no magic, spoken in Began with Henrik Ibsen and was largely
prose etc. developed by Stanislavski.

Plots that are realistic.

Involves physical dangers as part of the play’s Theatre of the Absurd

main conflict.
Involves usually flat character archetypes that
are involved in repetitive tasks.

Language can be nonsense, but usually in the

confines of naturalism (not many created

Plots are usually meaningless. Can involve

unresolved mysteries, repetition and clichés
and perhaps an oppression from an outside,
unknown force, as in Harold Pinter’s “The
Birthday Party” or “The Room.” Can be cyclical
(i.e. the end is the beginning is the end) and
can involve absence, or perhaps an
unexplained metamorphosis.

Experimental and surrealistic.

Usually tragicomedy, whereby comedy is used

as well as tragedy elements.