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Its successful portrayal depends on the cooperation that must exist among writers, actors, producers and audiences in accepting the limitations and the conventions of the stage. Since the turn of the twentieth century, modern drama has become the greatest form of mass entertainment in the western world. Experimentation and innovation are basic to this century’s dramatist. Through movies and television, everyone has experienced the excitement and emotional involvement that gives the drama its important place in our lives today. The drama is difficult to read because it is meant to be seen, not read. It demands much imagination and attention on the part of the reader to enable him to hear the tones and see the actions of the actors against an imaginary background. The reader has only the dialogue form which to visualize the costumes, the situation, the facial expressions, and the movements of the actors. The drama is also difficult to write because the playwright must be aware of the interests and opinions of the actors and producer as well as his audience. He must also recognize the limitation of the stage and work within the many conventions and restrictions it imposes on the actions of his characters and the locations of his settings. ELEMENTS OF THE DRAMA A. Setting B. Plot and Plot structures C. Characters and Characterization D. Conflict E. Theme F. Suspense and Atmosphere
The literary elements of the drama include setting, plot, characters and theme. Essential to the effective presentation of these elements are conflict, structure, suspense and atmosphere. Each of these elements are inherent in any narrative composition, but drama adds extra elements of stage direction, lighting effects, and the visual presence of the actors, the set and costumes.
A. Setting The setting of a drama presented on stage must be adapted to the limitations of the stage area. The playwright must confine his locations to scenes that can be constructed on the stage and limited to as a few changes as possible. The actions must be physically restricted on the stage, and depend on dialogue, lighting, and sound effects to carry the actions and events that cannot be presented visually. It is this physical confinement that makes writing plays more difficult than any other narrative form.
B. Plot The plot of the drama, although limited in its physical actions and changes of location or scene, is similar to that of the novel or short story. It must have the same characteristics of development and structuring, and depend on conflict, suspense and mood to carry the action forward.
1. Technical Divisions – Acts and scenes are the divisions of a play. Shakespeare’s
plays are mainly five acts in length, with many changes of scene with each act. However, the modern theatre audience is accustomed to sitting for only two to three hours to watch a play. This means the average modern play must be limited to three acts, which also has the benefit of keeping set changes minimum. A few modern plays run longer and have five or six acts.
2. Structure of the play: The technical development or structuring of the action in a
drama is similar to that of a novel:
the time and 3 . the mood and tone are established. • The moment of inciting force follows the preliminary exposition in which the conflict is presented and the main action begins. • The falling action follows the climax as the conflict works itself out either for or against the protagonist. • The rising action then develops through a series of incidents and minor crises which lead up to the climax or the turning point of the struggle when the action turns against the protagonist. Every detail must have a purpose: characters are introduced in their roles.• A preliminary exposition opens up the play. It introduces the characters. but it is necessarily a tragic ending. presenting background information and any necessary explanation of the situation. background information is given. brief. and interesting. • The denoument presents the final outcomes of the struggle. Developing the Action Preliminary Exposition: The beginning must be clear. sometimes referred to as the catastrophe which is the end of the struggle. Diagram of the Six-Fold structure of Drama 3.
Its purpose is to present an explanatory poem or speech that introduces information that is needed to start the play. permitting no waste of movements. words. all moving upwards to a peak of crisis or climax where the action reverses from the previous rising action and the events go for or against the protagonist towards a final outcome. while maintaining a naturalness that does not destroy the continuity of events. • Suspense: Suspense in situations which rouse our concern for the welfare of the characters can be created in many ways in a play. It may be used by the 4 . withholding information. unless it is a surprise ending. An epilogue is a speech made by an actor after the play is over. inevitable in its solutions.place are given. foreshadowing. Exits and entrances must be managed with purpose and be properly timed to gain dramatic emphasis. and any necessary hints at the outcome or suggestion of theme that will give understanding to the plot is provided. and realistic in its purpose. Every scene or conversation between characters must have a purpose. and the intervention of chance or fate. dialogue must not wander away from the major concerns of the plot nor must it be directed towards superfluous or unrelated detail. moves in waves of emotional crises. • Complications: The complications which keep the plot moving forward must have some basis in real life. Artistic economy must be observed at all times. or events to obtain an overall unit and emphasis of purpose. The denoument should be natural in its outcome. like the rising action. surprise or use of the unexpected. They develop through series of crises that move in waves of heightened emotion. It can be accomplished through a series of crises and a major crisis or climax. • Dramatic Emphasis: Emphasis is maintained by demonstrating every point to the audience. disguise. The falling action. • Prologue and Epilogue: A prologue is generally given by an actor before the play begins.
exits.playwright to reveal what happened afterwards or to point out the lesson of the play. This means that stage direction must succeed in reaching the audience through effective use of speech. All information. furnishing. as well as the behaviour of characters and interpretations of their speeches. the opening dialogue. and the growing tension of the plot. they have control of the action. • Characters are developed through their dialogue and their actions. the music or sound effects. the furnishings. • Stage Directions and Their Value: As plays are intended to be seen. not read. entrances. C. the facial expressions and gestures of the actors. and sound effects. choice of costumes. Some dramatists introduce a wider range of characters into their plays than other authors. Stage directions must determine the actor’s movements. the lighting. Shakespeare has the widest. Sometimes characters may be merely instruments in the plot. Characters and Characterization Characters in a play are portrayed by actors who speak the dialogue and carry out the action of the play. action. • All characters must appear natural so that their motivations and reactions as well as their exits and entrances seem realistic to the audience. most developed range of any playwright. lighting. In this way he is able to convey the meaning behind his play and its outcomes which could not be done naturally within the plot. emotions. at other times. Their dialogue carries the plot and theme of the play and must be adapted 5 . • Atmosphere: The atmosphere and mood of the drama is created by the set. attitudes. everything in them. must be seen or heard. and reactions must be presented through speech and action.
• Characters must be strongly drawn. There may be a clash of wills in a conflict of purposes. Character 6 . ARISTOTLE’S SIX ELEMENTS OF DRAMA 1. It usually involves opposing forces. it must still reveal their character. sometimes external and physical. consistent and believable. wrong dialogue. If dialogue is unrealistic. Action or plot 2. Conflict Drama is created by conflict. Sudden changes in character. D. or there may be a mental or emotional conflict within on person. mistimed facial expressions or smiles when the mood is sad or hostile must be avoided if the play is to be consistent in its portrayal and effective emotionally and intellectually for the audience. E. inappropriate gestures. sometimes internal and psychological.to their individual characters. Theme Theme in a drama is similar in its aspects to those of the short story or novel.
Aristotle believed that dramatic action was so significant that a tragedy “cannot exist without a plot. a play’s action is of the utmost importance.3. unlike the historian or journalist who reports events that may be the result of accident or anomaly. it may imply a larger. but all of these elements of drama. and language. the skillful tragedian introduces only those incidents that follow probably or logically from those that precede them. Dialogues like that in André’s Mother.” That is to say. In this instance. in topic.” citing epic poems of his age as examples. which in turn provides the blueprint for performance or the script. Different plots or actions demand different kinds of characters thought. he means that the best drama. Thought 4. or issue the play will develop as the action progress. • Character . but it can without characters. particularly tragedies. meaning. Nevertheless. monologue (including asides or direct addresses to the audience). it may contribute for the or rhythm of the play. unified means that all the scenes in the play are linked together by “probability and necessity. By the term unity of action. the history of drama since Aristotle often appears to suggest just the opposite: that the most influential plays are so influential precisely because they create unique characters or “personalities.Language in drama is generally communicated in one of the three forms: dialogue. it usually reveals something about his /her attitude towards the characters with whom he or she is speaking and about the topics they are discussing. either by providing necessary exposition of the past or foreshadowing of the future. are limitations of an action that is unified and complete. it may aid in advancing the plot.’ • Though and Language . frequently accomplishes several things at once: It reveals something about the characters speaking. Language 5. This action is constructed in a play. Song and Dance 6. originate in a plays action. 7 . and soliloquies. Spectacle or Visual Excess • Action or plot – For Aristotle. it may help orient the audience to the fictive space in which the action occurs.
One Act Play A. 2. and special effects in a production. costumes.• Spectacle. Masques became rather elaborate productions during the Elizabethan period. Comedy D. The medieval Miracle Play dramatized the lives of the saints. 4. TYPES OF DRAMA A. he seemingly was referring to excess: to violence on stage and lavish visual displays. HISTORICAL DRAMA: 1. Chronicle Plays. like the Miracle plays. 3. Historical B.When Aristotle denigrated “the visual adornment of the dramatic persons” as the “least artistic element” or tragic drama. Tragedy C. dancing silently and then moving on. Social Criticism E. the scenery. God’s enactments were dramatized for the congregations who were unable to read or understand the Latin Services. But in fact. wearing masks paraded through the streets and moved in and out of houses. This also means the visual elements of the production of a play. Masques originally were adaptations of pagan ceremonies in which the actors. drama in performance appeals to both the eye and the ear. dealt with the lives of the saints. dancing 8 . Costume. The Medieval Mystery play dealt with stories of the bible and its characters.
Elizabethan Tragedy. Classical Tragedy.as defined by Aristotle is designed to “ arouse the emotions of pity and fear and thus to produce in the audience a catharsis of these emotions” (relieving of emotional tension). Macbeth. the actors personified religious. In doing so. conspires with his wife to kill Banquo so they may usurp the throne Nemesis for such an immoral crime is death for them both. In Greek tragedy the nemesis or punishment for such hubris was retribution equal to or greater than the offense. His actions bring calamity to all concerned. Shakespeare’s Macbeth. His choice is an error in judgement which he makes out of excessive pride. resulting from her guilt and ensuing insanity. ambition or overconfidence. Usually allegorical. Modern tragedy includes Death of a Salesman. 9 . and Othello. he rises above his place in the natural order of men and gods and takes the life of another human being. 1. Classical tragedy requires a protagonist to make a choice that is the result of tragic flaw. and Macbeth in battle at the hands of Macduff whose family Macbeth also murdered. Examples are Shakespeare’s tragedies. satirical or moral qualities. B. hubris. TRAGEDY Is drama which involves the ruin of the leading character(s).and singing were more important than the action. In classical tragedy nemesis demands the death of the hero in the final scene and generally all those who were implicated in his crime. Hamlet. she by illness.also has a protagonist who is a tragic hero who falls victim to a tragic flaw in his character. political. Pride and ambition lead him to break a moral code or to ignore divine warnings for which he is punished by death. for example. 2.
Farce is comedy which depends wholly on laughable situations. Melodrama depends on exciting scenes. but an unexpected turn of events leads to a happy conclusion.3. while paying little 10 . 3. Romantic Tragedy. Tragi-comedy is drama which does not involve death or disaster but which verges on tragedy or bitter satire.Requires a greater development of character and theme of plot. The antics of the Three Stooges are farce. It involves ridiculous or hilarious complications. Allows for humour and the grotesque. Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan or James Barrie’s Admirable Creighton are good examples. overly dramatic characters and situation. Modern Tragedy.combines all forms of tragedy and uses plays from each of the previous centuries. tragiccomedy seems to be leading to catastrophe. 4. Shakespearean plays continue to find large audiences. 2. Serious in theme and plot. 4. An example is Peter Pan. and modern tragedies. 5. Comedy is drama which involves real but temporary difficulties of the leading characters. C. Fantastic Comedy deals with impossible situation in terms of ordinary human nature. and highly charged emotional reactions. based on the same Greek and Shakespearean use of the tragic hero with his tragic flaw have become classics of the twentieth century. Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice uses this to present this infamous Shylock. Elizabethan tragedies are mainly romantic tragedies. Comedy of Manners treats of polite society satirically and superficially. There are several types of comedy: 1. The ending is happy in that the conflict is resolved to the advantage of the protagonist(s).
but not laughter. One-act plays may consist of one or more scenes. One situation or episode is presented. In recent years the 10-minute play known as "flash drama" has emerged as a popular sub-genre of the one-act play. and single in effect. one act plays are made up of the same elements that are necessary for short stories : Theme. condensed. Drama of Social Criticism This category includes plays in which social. and television fall into this category. and very limited in character development. screen. Plot. Many modern plays on stage. Characters are few in number. The origin of the one-act play may be traced to the very beginning of drama: in ancient Greece. There is a complete drama within one act. a satyr play by Euripides. Theme 11 . quickly introduced.attention to human values or reality. It aims at emotional thrills. and dialogue. ONE ACT PLAY A one-act play is a play that has only one act. It is brief. especially in writing competitions. One-Act Plays Is similar to a short story in its limitations. 6. is an early example. economic or political problems and themes are portrayed. D. permitting no minor plots or side actions that may distract attention for the single purpose and effect being developed. Burlesque depends on laughable or exaggerated imitations of well known characters or events. Dialogue and plot must carry the action forward smoothly and quickly. Cyclops. Like all drama. as distinct from plays that occur over several acts. Character.
but must be concise and full of meaning. In the short time that the one-act play is going. the plot is the series and sequence of events that lead the hero (and the audience) on the journey. except the subplots will likely be absent. and subplots need to point to and support the theme.the hero. Any lines that do not point to the focus of the play should be carefully considered whether they are needed. all characters. again. the incident. Events that lead up to this must be incorporated into the script without the benefit of the audience seeing them. For a full-length play. This is the determining place for the hero. Some characteristics of the supporting characters. will need to be portrayed for the story to move forward. In a full-length play. it needs to be clear in your mind what your theme is. Each line must be crafted carefully to focus on the theme. there isn't time for more than that. including the antagonist.Play 12 . it is the hero's event that the audience is experiencing. Dialogue Economy is the key here. and the character of the protagonist. but it is the character of the protagonist that is vital to the story line. And any events that follow must be inferred or understood by the audience that they will occur. Character There is really only enough time in this to get to know one character well -. where all is won or lost.The one-act needs to have a theme or thought just as a full-length does. What is the play about? Revenge? Self-discovery? Whatever your choice. In a one-act play there is really only time for one significant event. plots. The one-act is not much different. Plot This is much different in the one-act than in the full-length. Dramatic Analysis and Construction of the One-Act. The dialogue need not be terse.
frustrates. We can isolate four aspects of interpretation that we perform almost automatically. The Technic of the one act play a. Observe details of speech. Draw inferences ----educated guess or hypotheses----. 2. moves. we relate them so they begin to make sense to us. setting. 3. Formulate from our inferences a consistent and coherent interpretation of the play. In reading (or viewing ) any play. 4.based on these connections. Connect these details into patterns. In interpreting a 13 .1. The Theme of the On-Act play 2. The end of the play A. Our experience of a play is private. and subjective: we discover how it entertains. 1. personal. Our interpretation of a play involves our ideas and thought about the meaning of that action. pleases. Our experience concerns our direct apprehension of the ongoing performance either on stage or in our mind’s eye. The beginning of the one act play 2. The characters in the one act play b. or otherwise affects us. The plot of the one act play 1. interpretation concerns our comprehension of the work after we have finished reading or seeing it performed. The middle of the play 3. it is important to distinguish between our experience of a play and our interpretation of it. Our experience of a play involves our emotions and subjective impressions of the plays dramatic action. Dialogue of the play THE INTERPRETATION OF DRAMA Interpretation is a series of intellectual and analytical mental acts that lead to a conclusion about the play’s meaning and significance. and action.
But our interpretation is affected by our perception of the moral and cultural values it exhibits. we mean such things as cultural attitudes. In considering such values as they emerge from our reading of any play. and social norms. moral dispositions. 14 . coupled with our assessment of what we understand as the playwright’s central values or controlling idea. we try to discover what it might mean for others as well. Further complicating our evaluation of a play is the extent to which we appreciate and enjoy its literary and theatrical artistry. and evaluation of the overall work. Since the values a play’s characters display typically constitute an important focus of dramatic interest. We do not first interpret the play and then evaluate it. both on long speeches and in briefer exchanges of dialogue. We may be affected by the language of the play. In identifying the play’s central concerns and in deciding which values are endorsed by the playwright. We may derive aesthetic pleasure from these and many other exhibitions of stagecraft. To acknowledge how our individual way of responding to a play is influenced by gender. we shift back and forth between interpretation and evaluation. For example. and ethnicity. we may admire the way playwrights structure plots.play. We perform the two acts together. We ask ourselves not so much: How do I respond to the speech and actions of the characters?” but instead “ What do their speech and actions signify: what do they mean?” THE EVALUATION OF DRAMA What do we mean by the values displayed in a play? Generally speaking. race. We evaluate and interpret a play. We should also be aware of how our social and perspectives may differ in important ways from the social norms and cultural attitudes of earlier times. And the enjoyment we derive. or own experience. constitute the basis for our evaluation. our perception of the characters’ values will affect to a considerable degree. we should be careful to distinguish between the attitudes and dispositions of individual characters and those of the play (those of the author). as well as religious and cultural identity. So the evaluation of any play is tied to our interpretation of it. We may find merit in portrayals of characters or the symbolic use of costume and setting. religious beliefs. is important in assessing its worth both for ourselves and for others. interpretation. largely by dangling before us a series of temporarily unanswered questions.
and coordinated responsibilities. and evaluation) affects the other. The preparation of the prompt book 5. As soon as you have decided upon your play you will need to order additional copies from the publisher. It is important because the production of a play is not a haphazard affair. We can say.moreover. effective leadership. The assignment and responsibilities 4. The prompt book for a major production is compiled 15 . All production duties should be assigned to and agreed upon by a director. without which there is chaos. prop manager. a small stage is inadequate for the movement of many people.is one of the important techniques to be learned from the project. if possible. make-up manager. Casting of characters 3. A play having not more than five or six characters is usually most satisfactory. The characterizations should be stimulating to all members of the cast and. While awaiting the arrival of these you will have an opportunity to plan all the details of the production. should offer parts which are quite different from those played previously. interpretation. In the planning of a production there are several important steps. and the three aspects of reading drama taken together define or “reading” of any play. Selection of the play 2. then. that each aspect of reading (experience. since larger groups find it difficult to schedule rehearsals. and business or publicity manager Prompt book. costume manager. in conjunction with a subjective and immediate response to our experience of it. 1. moreover. stage manager. sound and music manager. The play selected should be one in which everyone will enjoy working. Schedule of rehearsals. but rather the result of organized planning.
Prop plot 8. and phone numbers of entire cast B. Director A. Cue sheets for curtain .and kept by the director. Breakdown of the play 6. Costume plot 9. Interpretation of the play—theme. lights 11. It is a working handbook of all of the details connected with the play. Make-up plots 10. Rehearsal schedule 7. Cast of characters and staging responsibilities. Publicity management 13. Record of other details 14. in which the play and character relationships are discussed and agreed upon. Supervise the preparation of the prompt book. Conduct reading rehearsal. mood. addresses. Names. Ground plan 5. II. climax 3. major conflict. Supervise rehearsals 1. Study the principles of movement and design. 2. sound music. Stage Manager 16 . Complete script with movement and business 12. 2. Style of production 4. tempo and projection. be responsible for unity. which will contain 1.
Set up the stage for rehearsals and production. Hold the prompt book during the rehearsals. Supervise props used during rehearsals and productions. and draw costumes sketches for each character. E. Supervise all the collection of necessary props and safe return of all borrowed items. C. D. Supervise the collection of costume articles. Draw the ground plan and make set sketch or model set if needed. and the safe return of all borrowed items. Be familiar with the movement and business of each character so that you can take an actor’s play during the rehearsal. Prepare for the set the prop plot.A. B. Supervise all backstage activity during rehearsals and production. III. which lists by character all props carried or handles by the actors. Make the cue sheet for curtain. Coordinate the costume ensembles as to color and style. C. Prepare the personal prop chat. B. 17 . do any necessary research on period costumes. Prop Manager A. IV. C. Costume Manager A. which lists all necessary props on stage and in the wings when necessary props on stage and in the wings when the curtain rises. the making and pressing of costumes. B. F. D. Prepare the costume plot.
B. 2. Supervise the costume wardrobes during the dress rehearsals and production. Operate the sound and music effects during the rehearsals and production.D. VII. Music to establish mood. Make the posters and programs. Establish and maintain clean. Sound and Music Manager A. D. D. VI. Acquire the necessary make-up materials. C. Make necessary preparations if other cases or guests are to be invited. C. C. amount. Be responsible for the cleanliness of the make-up room and for returning make-up supplies. B. Supervise the selection and collection of music effects: 1. 18 . Supervise the collection of sound-effect equipment. Music required in the script. Publicity Manager A. B. Make-up Manager A. Organize the development of publicity as to kind. Design the make-up charts for each actor. Be responsible for the safe return of all borrowed items. and tme. E. See that royalty is paid. specifying the exact materials used. D. Supervise the application of make-up. orderly dressing rooms V. if this is required. Make the cue sheets for sound and music effects.
Provide ushers.E. a host for invited guests. and an announcer for the production. 19 .
ELEMENTS OF DRAMA / ONE ACT PLAY In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements in EDL 231 A Report Presented to: 20 .
Prof. Luisa P. 2010 21 . Rosario Dumagpi Division of Professional Education University of the Philippines Visayas Submitted by: Ma.II August 14. ESL. Alba M Ed.
J. Kalaidjian.d) Retrieved last August 8. Tennessee Williams: A Guide to Research and Performance. (1994) Literature: Reading Fiction. Everyone.G and Sutcliffe.kyshakes.2010 from http://www.html “Contemporary One Act Plays” (n.2010 from http://en.cfm/playwriting/72788/1#ixzz0ufadW0I2 - - - - - - - : 22 . Houghton Mifflin Company Kolin.d.2010 from http://books. New York: MacMillan Company DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill. ( 1998).org/Resources/Aristotle.wikipedia. Inc.(1954) On Stage.et.BIBLIOGRAPHY: - Barnes.org/wiki/One-act_play “What’s in a One Act Play” (n. P.com. Drama.) Retrieved last August 8.) Retrieved last August 8.d.all ( 2004) Understanding Literature: An understanding to reading and Writing. and the Essay (3rd ed. R. CT: Greenwood Pulishing Group “Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama” (n.ph/book “One Act Play” (n.google. W.suite101.com/article. Poetry.d) Retrieved August 8. M.2010 from http://www.).