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Introduction to Literature:

The earliest plays were staged in ancient Greece over 2500 years ago
Originally, plays were not read as books; people experienced plays only by seeing them performed
The word drama comes from a Greek word that means to do
The word theater comes from a Greek word that means place for seeing
1. Drama major genre of literature; performed on stage
2. Play one drama; performed by life actors; classified by the view of life they present and
their style:
Comedy Characters and situations are funny; endings are happy
Serious drama Realistic characters and situations; ending may be happy or sad
Tragedy central character meets with an unfortunate ending
Tragicomedy a play in which serious and comic elements are mixed.
3. Script the written form of a play, TV show, film or radio show
4. Plot action of the play, grows from conflict
5. Scene pieces of the action; usually changes as the setting changes
6. Act grouping of scenes according to the plot
7. Cast of characters list of all the characters or players at the beginning of the script
8. Dialogue lines of conversation spoken by characters
9. Stage directions instructions for actors and stage crew (in italics)
10. Theme a message communicated by the play
11. Classic Drama any drama written in classical Greece from the sixth century BC on.
Greek tragedies are often based on legends or myths known to ancient Greek audiences.
12. Shakespearean Drama any of the 37 plays written by William Shakespeare (1564 1616)
13. Aside a short speech that is not meant to be heard by other characters on stage.
14. Monologue a long speech spoken by one character on stage to another.
15. Soliloquy a long speech spoken by a character to himself, herself or the audience.
Elements of Drama:

Plot: The events in a play.

Setting: The time and place of a literary work.
Characters: People or creatures in a play.
Dialogue: Conversation in a play.
Theme: The central thought of a play; the idea or ideas with which a play deals.
Scenery: The various elements that are used to create a particular visual setting for a play.

Tips in reading Literary Drama:

1. Read the Cast of Characters Main and minor characters are listed, usually in order of appearance on
stage. You will see a few words that describe age, relationships or traits.
2. Read stage directions Stage directions appear at the beginning of each scene. The opening stage
directions of a script always describe the setting. Each scene also begins with a few words
telling the time and place of the action.
3. Read the dialogue and stage directions Dialogue and stage directions show how the story develops,
revealing who is involved, where they are, and what happens.
4. Keep track of plot development The plot is a series of actions built around a conflict, usually between
characters. Eventually, the plot reaches a climax, after which the action turns and the conflict is resolved.
After each scene, ask yourself how the characters situation has changed.
5. Look for themes Think about you response to the play as a whole. How have the characters changed? What
does their experience show you about life?