Drama in Performance Is Not a Literary Text but Action in Time and Space

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With Reference to your self-revised drama, consider its form and style and discuss non-verbal aspects of production and performance. In your answer discuss aspects such as physicality and space, music, costume, lighting and design, casting choices and use of performance space.

A recent drama studies task was to produce a self-devised drama as a class. The final product as well as production process has been a prime example of the statement that drama in performance is not a literary text but action in time and space. The idea behind the final dramatic piece was to reflect on the theme of "pressures" and show it in different aspects of society and in different contexts. This idea was intended to make the audience feel different moods and be entertained in different ways to allow them to truly appreciate our overall theme. This play could not rely on the verbal language solely to present it to the audience as the presentational style that it had been intended to be. This play was also non-realism in form, and the utilisation of many different aspects was necessary to present this form to the audience. The different aspects of the theme were able to be merged together with technical and non verbal aspects which advantaged the progression and eased development and structure within the play. The use of such theatrical attributes added to the play to prove that drama in performance is action in time and space and not just a literary text. Physicality and non-verbals, music and lighting, costume and props and performance space have all been significantly necessary in performance to utilise the play's idea and main theme of "pressures". Such a theme would be less evident and have less of an impact on the audience and how they feel towards the main idea.

Non-verbal action and physicality was extremely important within this piece to truly reflect the dramatic performance and to present it to the audience for significant impact upon them and their ideas on the theme of the piece. For this reason it is evident that drama in performance, such as this play, is not a literary text because literary texts focus almost solely on dialogue, narration and expression of the voice, rather than visual non-verbals to emphasise a sole idea. The self-devised drama was heavily influenced by the use of non verbal transitions to properly structure the piece; this was due to the need for the play to progress smoothly despite the multiple, contrasting acts within the play. An example of such a transition was the movement of the actors on stage for the next act where the central idea involved the pressures of our own mind, the difference between pessimistic and optimistic frames of mind and how they affect our lives mentally. The idea revolved around a leak in the ceiling of the workplace that the character was situated; this leak then inspired the transition on stage when that particular act was to be performed. Approximately half of the cast formed a intimate group in the wing of stage left. They all had umbrellas, opened, and held above their heads as if to protect them from the ‘rain'. A sound effect of a dripping tap then began and they all then slowly walked in time to the dripping tap. This looked very effective, in particular from an audience perspective as the clump of people and umbrellas as one was interesting for an audience member to witness. Once the group had walked on stage they gradually broke off from one another evenly on both sides of the stage next to the set of stairs which was positioned upstage centre to position themselves in abstract poses with the umbrellas as their prop. This slow movement of breaking off was effective and came across as symbolic of the need for shelter and surrounds before breaking off slowly and cautiously as a single person. This idea did not need to be interpreted in such a way to create an effect on the audience,...
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