Published on October 17, 2007
Fundamentals of Theatre Arts 121: Fundamentals of Theatre Arts 121 What is a Play? What is a Play?: What is a Play? Elements of a play: written work time genres structure What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Written work created to be witnessed by an audience created to be performed by actors created to be performed in a theatrical space created by playwright to share an idea or theme What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Time – 2 meanings Length: the run time of the play itself 2 hours, for dramas 3 hours, for musicals 1 hour or 1.5 hours for children’s drama ten minute plays & one minute plays Historical placement in time Ancient History / Medieval / Elizabethan Neoclassicism / Modern What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Genres is the categorizing of plays. -Tragedy - a play focuses on the downfall of a main character showing the decline of the human condition. - Comedy - a play that involves amusement with witty dialogue, verbal and sexual playfulness, pursuit of loved, and involves conflict in some format. What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Genres – continued Melodramas - plays that are serious but are trivial entertainments. They cannot accept unpleasant endings or generate a catharsis but can evoke a deep emotional audience sentiment. Farces - a wildly hilarious treatment of a trivial theme with mistaken identity, infatuation, physical comedy, etc. What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Genres - continued Documentary - an authentic retelling of a historical event. Musical - a play with songs and dance. Documentary - an authentic retelling of a historical event. Children’s Drama – a play developed specifically with children in mind. What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Genres – continued Interlude - usually comedic presentations of juggling or tumbling or dancing at state banquets during the Middle Ages. Cycle plays - presented as Biblical plays performed in a series and often included a procession through town during the Middle Ages. History plays - plays about people and events in history. Many times these plays laced the cathartic elements of tragedy and comedies. Tragicomedy - plays that combine tragedy and comedy and may be characterized by a ‘tragedy that ends happily’. “Something About Mary” Dark Comedy - is a play that is comic in delivery but is disturbing and ends ironically. “Fargo” What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Structure Conflict Plot Character Theme Diction / music Spectacle What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Conflict Root conflict - the main conflict of the play. The two opposing forces. Protagonist – usually the main character who “wants something” Antagonist – usually the person who prevents protagonist from getting what they want, intentionally or unintentionally. What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Conflict Root Conflict Sentence Protagonist, in an effort to get what he/she wants, does this, however, the antagonist prevents it by doing this, but it ends up like this and this is the lesson learned. What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Plot Inciting incident - the moment in a play that starts the conflict in motion. Crisis - the moment in the play that sets the opposing forces on a collision course. It is usually at the end of first act in a two act play, or right before intermission. Catastrophe - the moment in the play where the two opposing forces are head to head and something has to change. Climax - the moment in the play where the opposing forces are resolved. Denouement - the epilogue of the play where loose ends are pulled together. What is a Play?: What is a Play? Character - the people in the play. The actors impersonate a character. Characters can be complex with motivations and objectives. They can symbolize ideas or not be fully developed at all. It is the actors challenge to make full, well-rounded characters. Theme - the meaning of the play. It may be never mentioned within the script or it may pound you over the head. Authors write to say something and the audience must figure it out. Many times a play means something different to everyone. There may be no right and wrong answers to this. What is a Play? Elements: What is a Play? Elements Diction - the spoken dialogue which includes cadence, imagery, articulation, verse, rhyme, etc. Is very strong to identify the style of the play. Music - vocal or instrumental. Spectacle - encompasses the visual aspects of a production with sets, costumes, lighting, makeup, props. Can be the most memorable element in a production. Conventions - asides, freezes, permits a communication with the audience without disrupting action on stage.