WHAT IS DRAMA?
Drama is a literary composition to be acted by players on a stage before an audience. 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
B. Plot and Plot structures
C. Characters and Characterization
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.
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: A preliminary exposition opens up the play, presenting background information and any necessary explanation of the situation. It introducesthe characters. The moment of inciting force follows the preliminary exposition in which the conflict is presented and the main action begins.
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.
The falling action follows the climax as the conflict works itself out either for or against the protagonist.
The denouement presents the final outcomes of the struggle, sometimes referred to as...