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LESSON 2

:
UNIVERSAL
ELEMENTS OF
DRAMA

Imitation

■It is close to
reality but not
reality

Impersonation

■Drama aims to
give or show
something again

Re-enactment ■Persons or actions will impersonate specific characters in the original action .

Elements of Drama ■1 Literary Elements ■2. Technical Elements ■3. Performance Elements .

Essential to the effective presentation of these elements are conflict. and the visual presence of the actors. characters and theme. suspense and atmosphere. structure. lighting effects. plot. the set and costumes. Each of these elements are inherent in any narrative composition. LITERARY ELEMENTS OF THE DRAMA ■ The literary elements of the drama include setting. but drama adds extra elements of stage direction. .

Characters and Characterization D.Theme F.Conflict E.Plot and Plot structures C.Setting B.Suspense and Atmosphere . LITERARY ELEMENTS OF THE DRAMA A.

The actions must be physically restricted on the stage. and depend on dialogue.A. It is this physical confinement that makes writing plays more difficult than any other narrative form. and sound effects to carry the actions and events that cannot be presented visually. The playwright must confine his locations to scenes that can be constructed on the stage and limited to as a few changes as possible. Setting ■ The setting of a drama presented on stage must be adapted to the limitations of the stage area. . lighting.

It must have the same characteristics of development and structuring. is similar to that of the novel or short story. although limited in its physical actions and changes of location or scene. suspense and mood to carry the action forward. Plot ■ The plot of the drama.B. . and depend on conflict.

A few modern plays run longer and have five or six acts. . with many changes of scene with each act. PLOT Technical Divisions – ■ Acts and scenes are the divisions of a play. which also has the benefit of keeping set changes minimum. the modern theatre audience is accustomed to sitting for only two to three hours to watch a play.B. This means the average modern play must be limited to three acts. Shakespeare’s plays are mainly five acts in length. However.

B. PLOT Structure of the play: ■The technical development or structuring of the action in a drama is similar to that of a novel: .

B. PLOT Structure of the play: ■A preliminary exposition opens up the play. It introduces the characters. presenting background information and any necessary explanation of the situation. .

PLOT Structure of the play: ■The moment of inciting force follows the preliminary exposition in which the conflict is presented and the main action begins. .B.

B. . PLOT Structure of the play: ■ 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.

. PLOT Structure of the play: ■The falling action follows the climax as the conflict works itself out either for or against the protagonist.B.

. PLOT Structure of the play: ■ The denoument presents the final outcomes of the struggle. but it is necessarily a tragic ending. sometimes referred to as the catastrophe which is the end of the struggle.B.

Diagram of the Six-Fold structure of Drama .

and any necessary hints at the outcome or suggestion of theme that will give understanding to the plot is provided. brief. the time and place are given.B. PLOT Developing the Action ■ Preliminary Exposition: The beginning must be clear. . and interesting. Every detail must have a purpose: characters are introduced in their roles. the mood and tone are established. background information is given.

PLOT Developing the Action ■ Complications: The complications which keep the plot moving forward must have some basis in real life. and realistic in its purpose. The falling action. moves in waves of emotional crises. They develop through series of crises that move in waves of heightened emotion. inevitable in its solutions. The denoument should be natural in its outcome. unless it is a surprise ending. . 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. like the rising action.B.

withholding information. disguise. .B. surprise or use of the unexpected. and the intervention of chance or fate. PLOT Suspense: ■ Suspense in situations which rouse our concern for the welfare of the characters can be created in many ways in a play. foreshadowing. It can be accomplished through a series of crises and a major crisis or climax.

B. PLOT Dramatic Emphasis: ■ Emphasis is maintained by demonstrating every point to the audience. or events to obtain an overall unit and emphasis of purpose. Artistic economy must be observed at all times. dialogue must not wander away from the major concerns of the plot nor must it be directed towards superfluous or unrelated detail. permitting no waste of movements. . Every scene or conversation between characters must have a purpose. Exits and entrances must be managed with purpose and be properly timed to gain dramatic emphasis. while maintaining a naturalness that does not destroy the continuity of events. words.

PLOT Prologue and Epilogue: ■ A prologue is generally given by an actor before the play begins. It may be used by the playwright to reveal what happened afterwards or to point out the lesson of the play. An epilogue is a speech made by an actor after the play is over.B. Its purpose is to present an explanatory poem or speech that introduces information that is needed to start the play. . 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.

the facial expressions and gestures of the actors. the music or sound effects. and the growing tension of the plot. the furnishings. the lighting. PLOT Atmosphere: ■ The atmosphere and mood of the drama is created by the set. .B. the opening dialogue.

action. attitudes. everything in them. must be seen or heard. choice of costumes. and sound effects. lighting. as well as the behaviour of characters and interpretations of their speeches. and reactions must be presented through speech and action. PLOT Stage Directions and Their Value: ■ As plays are intended to be seen.B. All information. not read. exits. emotions. This means that stage direction must succeed in reaching the audience through effective use of speech. entrances. Stage directions must determine the actor’s movements. . furnishing.

they have control of the action.C. 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. at other times.

Characters and Characterization ■ All characters must appear natural so that their motivations and reactions as well as their exits and entrances seem realistic to the audience. . Some dramatists introduce a wider range of characters into their plays than other authors. Shakespeare has the widest.C. most developed range of any playwright.

If dialogue is unrealistic. . it must still reveal their character.C. Characters and Characterization ■ Characters are developed through their dialogue and their actions. Their dialogue carries the plot and theme of the play and must be adapted to their individual characters.

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. Characters and Characterization ■ Characters must be strongly drawn. .C. wrong dialogue. consistent and believable. Sudden changes in character. inappropriate gestures.

sometimes external and physical.D. or there may be a mental or emotional conflict within on person. There may be a clash of wills in a conflict of purposes. . Conflict ■ Drama is created by conflict. sometimes internal and psychological. It usually involves opposing forces.

.E. Theme ■Theme in a drama is similar in its aspects to those of the short story or novel.