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Basic Play Structure

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Megan Morey

on 11 February 2016

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Transcript of Basic Play Structure

The BASICS of Play Structure and Analysis
THA 110

What is a play?
A play is essentially
a story come to life.
What do we need in order
to tell an interesting story?
A PLOT. Dramatic Action.
"Plays are about days when something of critical importance is being confronted" (Barton/McGregor 84).
Where do we start?

Point of Attack: Where in the larger story
does this play begin.
Who's involved in the play?

Protagonist: the "main" character - the one
we choose to focus on because he/she changes the most or learns an important lesson.
Antagonist: A character who blocks the
actions of the protagonist. NOT necessarily evil!
Where is this story happening?
The "World" of the Play:
Where in the world?
What time period?
What season?
Time of day? How many days?
Mood of the setting?
What is happening in this world?
Information about past events revealed through conversation among the characters.
Foreshadowing: Hints that something important might be happening later on (usually related to a particular subject or event already occurring).
Inciting Incident: Some kind of event
that gets the story moving. Tipping point
between the exposition and the....
Rising Action: Tension builds, the story progresses
in a direction that will eventually lead to the...
Climax: The peak of the action in the play.
This may be the time when we learn the main
theme, lesson, or idea about this play. It may be the most exciting part in the play, but does not have to be.

The climax is usually followed by
Falling Action: events that break the tension of Rising Action.
There may be several lines of Rising and Falling Action before we reach the climax.
Eventually we typically end up at the Resolution:
The playwright wraps up loose ends, the characters
reveal what they've learned or how they've changed, and a new world order is possibly established (i.e. something about the world at the beginning of the play is now different).

To summarize, the basic structural elements of a play usually includes the following:
Point of Attack
World of the Play
Inciting Incident
Rising Action
Falling Action
Full transcript