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Transcript of Drama
The audience must
glean (get) critical information from the action on stage.
Everything the audience knows comes from the actors’
blocking (movement) and lines.
Aside – a character’s
direct address to the audience
(breaking the “fourth wall”), which is not heard by the other characters.
Speeches in 300 and other movies
Unlike short stories or novels,
plays are written for the express purpose of performance.
Plays are meant to be experienced by a live audience, not read
Suspension of Disbelief
Just like in other forms of literature, crazy or magical occurrences or characters appear in drama.
In a musical, for example, the entire cast might break into the same song and dance. This seems ridiculous if you consider it to be “real life”, but suspend your disbelief and remember
that it’s art, not real life.
Similarly, costumes, makeup, or hair-do’s might be outrageous; this is for effect, just like figurative language.
Play roles and present story through
Special Features of Plays
Plays are divided into
acts and scenes
lists of characters
description of setting and characters
(require the reader to pause and visualize the set up)
Readers and actors must play close attention to the
in order to understand the characters action
The dialogue and stage directions show what characters are like through
Monologues, Soliloquy, and Asides
Monologues, soliloquies, and asides are dramatic techniques that
provide direct insight into motives, attitudes, and overall tone or emotion.
Soliloquy – an extended
speech by one character who is alone on stage
. Soliloquies are used to express the private thoughts of one character. The character is either talking to herself or to the audience (breaking the “fourth wall”)
Monologue: an extended
speech by one character.
Others are there to listen
2 Basic "Flavors"
dramatic works which use humor
to explore various themes and characters. Comedies usually end on a happy note
treat serious subjects and often focus on the tragic hero’s character.
Tragedies usually end with death.
Playwrights use dramatic irony when
they allow the audience to know more than the characters do
about a specific situation or incident.
Also known as sarcasm, it is
when a character says one thing but mean another
A situation’s outcome is opposite of what you expect
The term satire refers to
social criticism that is cloaked in comedy and used to ridicule social institutions and figureheads.
Example: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
Elements of Plot
introduces the characters, setting and basic situation.
presents the central conflict (and the inciting incident), complications, suspense and crisis.
the point of greatest tension.
Elements of Plot
Falling action –
ties up loose ends and concludes the action.
Pay particular attention to the overall plot.
What are the major
conflicts or issues
When does the
What or who is moving the action along? (What are the characters’ motivations that are causing the play to progress?)
Pay close attention to characters.
Who are the
What do you know about their
How do you know this information? (What do they say/do? What do others say about them?)
What are the characters’
strengths and weaknesses
Some playwrights use few stage directions, while others use many.
tell the reader/actor how to perform/act the character on stage.
The stage directions then tell the audience
indirect character elements
like who they are and what they want.
Most written works have a central theme and several additional themes.
Try to identify the central theme – what is the
the play wants to teach?
Back up your
examples from the text
If possible, watch a production of the play you’ve been reading.
How does the production correspond to your reading? How does it differ?
Note: We will be reading and then watching Pirates of Penzance.
The overall storyline and sequence of events is known as the plot.