• Drama is a literary composition involving conflict,
action crisis and atmosphere designed to be acted
by players on a stage before an audience.
– This definition may be applied to motion picture drama
as well as to the traditional stage.
• Although plays exist which were mainly written for a
reading audience, dramatic texts are generally meant
to be transformed into another mode of presentation
or medium: the theatre.
– Drama is the most dependent of
art forms -- director, actors,
scene and costume designers
must interpret before the
audience does.
Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama
• What happens in a play; the order of events, the story as opposed to the theme; what
happens rather than what it means.
• What the play means as opposed to what happens (plot); the main idea within the play.
• The personality or the part an actor represents in a play; a role played by an actor in a
• The word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors delivering
the lines.
• By music Aristotle meant the sound, rhythm and melody of the speeches.
• The visual elements of the production of a play; the scenery, costumes, and special
effects in a production.
Types of Drama
• Major subgenres:
– Tragedy
• Involves the ruin of the leading characters.
– Comedy
• The leading characters overcome the difficulties which
temporarily beset them.
– Mixed
• Retains parts of tragedy -- heroic or noble characters and
extreme situations, but differs from tragedy because usually has a
happy ending and a generally optimistic view, even if ending is sad.
Types of drama
• Minor subgenres:
– Melodrama
• Work in which emotion is exaggerated and plot and action are
emphasized, with a happy ending.
– Farce
• When comedy involves ridiculous or hilarious complications without
regard for human values, it becomes farce.
– Entremés
• Is a short, comic theatrical performance of one act, usually played
during the interlude of a performance of a long dramatic work, in the
16th and 17th centuries in Spain.
Elements of Drama
Stage Directions
• An act is each one of the major parts
in which a play is divided.
– Acts are divided by scenes.
• A break between acts does not
interrupt the development of action in
the play.
• The end of an act is marked by the
• A subdivision of an act in a play.
• The division of acts determined by the entrance and
exit of characters.
• The personality or
the part an actor
represents in a play;
a role played by an
actor in a play.
• In theatre,
characterization is
everything the actor
does to “give life” to
the character.
Make up
Memorize lines
• The word choices made by the playwright
and the enunciation of the actors
delivering the lines.
– Monologue
• A speech made by one character.
– Aside
• It is a speech given by an
actor on stage that is
supposedly not heard by
the other actors on stage.
• Time, in a work of literature, is the sequence of
events, the order in which the events in a story take
• In drama, there is two
types of time:
– Story time
– Action time
Story Time
• This is the necessary time for the story to happen.
– It could be minutes, hours, months, or even years.
Action Time
• This is the duration of a play in the theatre.
• In literature, setting is the time and place of the
action within a story.
• In drama, there is two types of setting:
– Dramatic space
– Scenic space
Dramatic Space
• The dramatic space is what the reader creates thanks
to their imagination when reading the text.
– This is the setting the reader creates
when reading the text.
Scenic Space
• The scenic space is the area created on stage by the
– It happens in the theatre.
– The spectator sees it, and sometimes, is a part of it.
Stage Directions
• They are indications written in parentheses by the
• Notes in the text of a play that describe the
appearance and movements of the characters, as well
as the sets, costumes, and lighting.
– Stage directions serve primarily as instructions for the cast
and crew of a theatrical production, but they also help
readers imagine the action of the play.
Stage Directions