Elements of Drama

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  • Topic: Drama
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Elements of Drama
* Characters:  Characters are the people (sometimes animals or ideas) portrayed by the actors in the play. It is the characters who move the action, or plot, of the play forward. * Plot: This is what happens in the play. Plot refers to the action; the basic storyline of the play. * Theme: While plot refers to the action of the play, theme refers to the meaning of the play. Theme is the main idea or lesson to be learned from the play. In some cases, the theme of a play is obvious; other times it is quite subtle. * Dialogue: This refers to the words written by the playwright and spoken by the characters in the play. The dialogue helps move the action of the play along. * Convention: These are the techniques and methods used by the playwright and director to create the desired stylistic effect. * Genre: Genre refers to the type of play. Some examples of different genres include, comedy, tragedy, mystery and historical play. * Audience: This is the group of people who watch the play. Many playwrights and actors consider the audience to be the most important element of drama, as all of the effort put in to writing and producing a play is for the enjoyment of the audience. * Music/Rhythm: While music is often featured in drama, in this case Aristotle was referring to the rhythm of the actors' voices as they speak. * Spectacle: This refers to the visual elements of a play: sets, costumes, special effects, etc. Spectacle is everything that the audience sees as they watch the play.

Features of Drama
1. Characterization
2. Chronology and time
3. Dialog
4. Role
5. Stage Direction
6. Title
7. Acts
8. Production

Ways on How to Read a Drama
1. Content
We can use the same criteria of content with drama as we used with novels and stories: character, action, and setting. With dramatic performance, however, we must add several additional elements. Putting on a play involves not only actors, but also a set designer, a costume designer, and a director. The director controls the action. The set and costume designer contribute to creating a visual representation of the setting. 2. Language

Since drama consists of the spoken word, language plays a role in drama insofar as the language of the characters offers clues to their backgrounds, feelings, and personalities, and to changes in feeling throughout the play. 3. Structure

As with stories, we can examine drama with two understandings of structure. On the one hand, we have the linear unfolding of the plot from scene to scene, act to act. Drama often includes contrasting subplots that reinforce or set the main plot in additional perspective . On the other hand, we have the structure of the conflict itself, and can identify elements running throughout the text in patterns of behavior and events.

Techniques on How to Write an Extended Dialogue
1. Listen to How People Talk.
Having a sense of natural speech patterns is essential to good dialogue. Start to pay attention to the expressions that people use and the music of everyday conversation. This exercise asks you to do this more formally, but generally speaking it's helpful to develop your ear by paying attention to the way people talk.

2. Not Exactly like Real Speech.
But dialogue should read like real speech. How do you accomplish that? Alfred Hitchcock said that a good story was "life, with the dull parts taken out." This very much applies to dialogue. A transcription of a conversation would be completely boring to read. Edit out the filler words and unessential dialogue — that is, the dialogue that doesn't contribute to the plot in some way.

3. Don't Provide Too Much Info at Once.
It should not be obvious to the reader that they're being fed important facts. Let the story unfold naturally. You don't have to tell the reader everything up front, and you can trust him or her to remember details from earlier in the story.

4. Break Up Dialogue with Action....
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