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Sara Anzellotti

on 21 October 2015

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Transcript of Drama

Elements of the play
The Play
Definition and general characteristics
Drama is one of the first literary expressions; the word has a Greek origin meaning "action" and referring to a performance on the stage, in which actors act out the events and embody the characters of a story.
A dramatic work is usually called "
a play
". It's written by a playwright/dramatist. Even for people who couldn't read, drama was, at that time, a way to know stories.
Drama elements
written text
(the message)
actors, director, designers, musicians
Characters can be divided into two categories: minor and main characters.
there are often a
(the protagonist of the play), a
(the main female figure) and an
(the villain).
The Aim of Drama/ Themes
The aim of drama is not to re-create the world of nature but to offer a different model of our world, developed around one or more themes. Themes are the messages that emerge in and through the play; in other words the issues and ideas a playwright wishes to deal with through the subject matter of the play.
Comedy comes from Greek tradition as well. The Greek word
probably meant '
Dionysiac feast song'
. The term refers to stories that generally intended to make the reader or the audience laugh.
It usually has a happy ending. Some characters, the flat ones, are those who stay the same way from the beginning to the end. We can find the use of irony. What really counts is the plot, not the characters themselves. Round characters are the ones who change and develop throughout the plot. The most important thing is their psychological change. There are stereotypes, type characters, cases of mistaken identity and unlikely disguises.
The word comes from two Greek terms : "
", meaning "goat" and "
", meaning "song". A goat was sacrificed in Greek traditional plays.
Key elements:
Aristotelian unities: one time, one action, one place
elevated language and style
representation of the struggle between good and evil
heroes and heroines
(dramatis personae
) are never common people. Kings, princesses, warriors aren't free but dominated by fate, which play a very important role
tragic ending
Plays usually include
stage directions
, where the dramatist intervenes to give instructions for the production of the play. You can easily recognise stage directions because they are written in
to distinguish them from the characters' speeches.
The action of a play is built on the dialogue. It also conveys information about facts, past events, characters’ relationships and attitudes to one another, characters’ feelings and intentions, etc.
: the term monologue indicates a single person speaking. In the theatrical convention a monologue is a speech by one character which is heard by other characters present on the stage.

: an accepted stage convention in which a character speaks to the audience expressing his thoughts and feelings. The character may be alone on the stage or not, but his words are supposed to be heard by the public alone, and not by other characters.
Mystery plays
Mystery plays refer to another important type of drama which dates back to the European Middle Ages. They were stories taken from the Bible. Each play had four or five different scenes or acts. The priests and monks were the actors. Each scene or act was performed at a different place in town and the people moved from one stage to the next to watch the play. The play usually ended outside the church so that the people would go to church and hear a sermon after watching the play
Miracle Plays
One of the main types of drama in the European Middle Ages was the Miracle play. It was about the life or actions of a saint, especially the actions that made that person a saint. The stories were taken from the Bible, from the creation of Adam on to the Resurrection of Christ and the Last Judgement. The plays were acted by the members of the trade guilds, and performed on "
" (movable stages). The actors were all amateurs and they weren't considered as professional actors.
They were paid for their services. Some plays dealt with the lives of Virgin Mary and St.Nicolas.
Morality Plays
Morality plays were linked to Medieval and early Tudor entertainment and they were designed to teach people a lesson about how to live their lives according to the rules of the church. The stories weren't taken from the Bible.
The actors personified human vices (
e.g. Greed, Sloth, Envy)
and virtues (
e.g. Patience, Temperance
) with a psychological interpretation of characters. One of the most important Morality Play is
Interlude Plays
Where did the
performances take place?

We find Interlude Plays at the end of the 15th century. They were short plays, usually performed at a lord's house or at the Court. The companies were composed by few people and the acting was a combination of serious and comic elements. There were also two technical "devices" : the dramatic character ( the "
") and the disguise.
At first performances took place in the nave of the church, where monks and priests acted in Latin. Later, they moved outside the churches, there was a passage from Latin to English and the actors were ordinary people. During the Renaissance ( Elizabethan age) theatres became very popular. At that time the first theatres, or playhouses, were built in London, for example
the Theatre, the Rose
, and
the Globe
. They could host up to 500 people. People could eat and drink as well as watching the performance.
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