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  • 1. Dramatic Structure
  • 2. What is dramatic structure?
    • A Map of a play
    • What are the parts?
      • In writing? Intro Body Conclusion
      • In Performance? Intro Development Resolution
  • 3. Components of a play
    • Theme- the moral or lesson a play teaches. For instance Goldilocks theme is- Don’t use other people’s stuff!
      • Major Dramatic Question- the question that must be answered in order for the play to conclude. Example: Will Goldilocks get caught?
      • Universality- Themes should apply throughout time and to many different cultures and societies.
      • Concept- A statement of what the artist (or reader) feels the play is about as well as their take on it. Example- Goldilocks is a fun story where children learn good life lessons through humor. Notice this statement is a combination of theme and how I think it should be performed (fun-humor).
  • 4. Components of a play
      • Plot- the events of the story in order. Ie. The three bears went for a walk, then Goldilocks tried their porridge…
      • Intro- Where characters are introduced and the conflict is foreshadowed.
      • Development- The ups and downs of the problem.
      • Resolution- where the problem gets solved and normalcy returns.
  • 5. Theme
    • Theme- the lesson, the moral?
    • Let’s talk about the themes of commonly known shows:
      • Trifles- The little things matter. Or Women are good problem solvers.
      • Titanic- Big ships sink too. Or Love is everlasting.
      • Ed- Friendships survive all
  • 6. Themes should be Universal
    • What is Universality? Across time, place, and language barriers.
      • Why should themes apply universally? The story of Oedipus is 2500 years old yet the lesson still affects all of us.
      • Examples? Romeo and Juliet? All children’s stories
      • Exceptions? Some stories can’t cross cultural barriers because of different belief systems. For instance, in some African tribes women are given as brides. Modern feminist theory in America would not agree with this. And if that were the theme, then the play would not relate to its’ audience
  • 7. Theme
    • What is a Concept?
      • An underlying current driving the production.
      • Shakespeare redone- R&J Modern? The Leonardo DiCapprio version certainly was conceptually unique.
      • Trifles? How would you produce Trifles?
  • 8. Plot
    • The mapping of a play- How the events unfold
    • Above is a linear, or Aristotlean progression. The events build and build until a climax and then resolve. In the last century a cyclical pattern was often used
  • 9. Introduction
      • Prologue- Used originally in Greek theatre, a chorus member would speak directly to the audience and set up the events and characters.
      • Feather Duster Scene- When realism brought about a distaste for speaking directly to the audience, playwrights often put a maid on stage who would dust while speaking to herself about the problems in the house and the characters involved. Nifty huh?
      • Exposition- simply when the audience is being fed information
  • 10. Development
      • Conflict- The problem of the play
      • Rising Action- Building of the problem
      • Point of Attack- At the end of the exposition and the beginning of the problem
      • Build- Another term for Rising Acion
      • Point of no Return- The point at which the antagonist has chosen he must solve the [problem and cannot rest until he does.
      • Climax- The biggest confrontation- where the problem is tackled
  • 11. Resolution
      • Falling Action- Refer to the chart, the play begins at peace and builds to a climax, but also falls back to peace.
      • Putting the Pieces Back- Just another way of saying Falling Action
      • Denouement- French from untying- the final resolution
  • 12. Characters
    • Protagonist . the central character of a story. P rotagonist is the term used by literary critics. In most cases we see the plot from the point of view of the protagonist, though some stories have a narrator who is not the protagonist.
    • Antagonist . This is the character who causes or leads the conflict against the protagonist. The antagonist is usually a villain, but not always. Every story has a protagonist, but some stories do not have an antagonist, as some types of conflict do not require one.
    • Confidant . Many stories include a secondary character whose main function is to listen to the protagonist. The confidant (or confidante, if a woman) may play a part in the character development of the protagonist, but even more often, he gives the protagonist an excuse to provide plot information for the reader.
  • 13. More characters…
    • Foil . This is a character, usually a secondary one, who helps us to understand the protagonist or another major character by providing a contrast. In the old western movies, the hero was always tall and handsome, had a good singing voice, wore a white hat, rode a palomino stallion, and was strong and brave. His sidekick was always short and fat, had a gravelly voice, wore a ridiculous-looking hat, often rode a pinto pony, and was weak and timid. Technically speaking, this sidekick was a foil (as well as a confidant). He made the hero look more heroic just by standing next to him.
    • Narrator . This is the character who tells the story. The narrator may be a realistic or fictionalized version of the author or an entirely imaginary character whom we accept for the sake of the story, though we know he is not really the author. The narrator may be a main character or a minor one, may or may not know all of the facts of the story, and may be reliable or unreliable .
  • 14. Now let’s look at Trifles-
    • What were the events in the plot?
      • Which parts were the introduction?
      • The development?
      • Resolution?
      • Well that depends on the who we think the play was about and what the Major Dramatic Question was?
  • 15. MDQ- Will the women cover for Mrs. Wright
    • Introductory elements
      • Exposition about what happened when the neighbor and sheriff arrived last night.
      • We find out they are looking for motive.
      • We see early that the men view the women’s things as unimportant (trifles).
      • The women start to notice clues as to Mrs. Wright’s guilt.
  • 16. MDQ- Will the women cover for Mrs. Wright
    • Development
      • The women find the bird cage, stitching, and other clues that clearly point towards her guilt.
      • They discuss the woman’s role. And how most men, including Mr. Wright, abuse that role.
      • They indirectly discuss whether or not to cover for Mrs. Wright.
  • 17. MDQ- Will the women cover for Mrs. Wright
    • Climax
      • They hide the clues and change the subject when the men re-enter. Notice how this answers our MDQ.
      • Now there is no doubt about the fate of the play. All of the rising action has pointed to this decision to cover the information.
  • 18. MDQ- Will the women cover for Mrs. Wright
    • Conclusion
      • This play has a pretty quick resolution. The clues are hidden and the women make a few snide comments to the investigators about their arrogance and ignorance and the play ends.
  • 19. Trifle’s Characters
    • Protagonist- The women- probably Mrs. Hale who talks Mrs. Peters into covering.
    • Antagonist- The men – who represent the law.
    • Confidant- The women serve this role to each other as they share stories about how men have mistreated women.
  • 20. END