Drama is a genre that is deliberately written forperformance. The audience’s understanding of thecharacters and plot depends on the skill of the writer,the actors and director whose task it is, to bring thosewords on the page, to life.
You are encouraged to interpret a script with imaginationand confidence. It is important to be aware of intonation andthe intention of the character when speaking.There is enormous difference between reading ascript and reading a novel.Reading is usually a private activity but a play is written to beperformed.A novel will typically include plenty ofdescriptions to stir the readers’ imagination,enabling them to ‘see’ the events.A play contains mainly dialogue and very little description.It is opposite to a novel, the audience can see what ishappening but the reader cannot.
Stage DirectionsAsidesEntrances and ExitsScenes and ActsSymbolismSpeech DirectionsLanguageDialogueVerse/RhymeConflictAccentsCharacterisationIntertextualityMonologuesRepetitionIntonationsRhythmBody LanguageSubtextIntonation/Inflection
1. Text apart from dialogueusually written in italics.2. Includes directions aboutmovement on stage anddetails about the actor’sphysical actions andpsychological intentions.3. May refer to lighting, musicalor technical changes too.
These have dramaticsignificance as they signalthe beginning or ending ofa situation or climax ofsome kind. They may also indicate achange of physical settinge.g. Inside a room changesinto an outdoor scene.
The playwrightmust rely uponthe dialogue andinteraction of thecharacters toexplain the plot.The directordecides how itshould beinterpreted. Theactor will trydifferent ways.Dialogue
The spectacle a play presents in performance,including the position of actors on stage, the scenicbackground, the props and costumes, and thelighting and sound effects.
The way an author chooses words, arranges them insentences or in lines of dialogue or verse, and developsideas and actions with description, imagery, and otherliterary techniques.
Much about the plotcan be derived fromthe language of thecharacters. Thelanguage used mayrepresent socialstatus, nationality,education,emotional state andthe ‘ ’ of thecharacters.
During as aside, theactor jumps out ofcharacter for a momentand speaks directly tothe audience or camera,and then reverts tobeing their characteragain.
Just as in normal conversation, thespoken words of the play are only asmall aspect of what the audience‘reads’ from the performance.In normal conversation, we deriveonly 7% of the meaning of thewords spoken, 38% from the waythe words are said, and 55% from
Facial expressions, gestures,stamping a foot or shaking afist, can communicate emotionsand thoughts in the same wayas an adjective does in anarrative.
Subtext or undertone is content of a book, play, musical work, film, videogame, or television series which is not announced explicitly by thecharacters (or author) but is implicit or becomes something understood bythe observer of the work as the production unfolds. Subtext can also refer tothe thoughts and motives of the characters which are only covered in anaside.
Important to notice theseas they introduce thearrival or departure of thecharacters onstage. Actors are encouraged tomake colourful exits andentrances on stage ratherthan wandering on and off. Interesting entrances andexits become a sign of gooddirection.
1. Objects may be used as devices to represent variouselements e.g. A moon, a knife, a broken glass.2. They are always included deliberately and never randomlyincluded as part of the set.3. Props are meaningful and symbolism may also be a partof the script.
These are sometimes butnot always included bythe playwright. They maysuggest ways for the actorto speak a line e.g.(whispers) or (shouts)
A state of disharmony between incompatible persons,ideas or interests.
Used within the dialogue – repeated words, phrases and images.Used for emphasis or to create a mood.Also used to add to the characterisation.
In some of Shakespeare’s plays, it is possible to tell thestatus of a character or the mood of the scene by whetherit is written as poetry or in everyday speech, e.g. charactersof low status do not speak in verse and comic scenes areoften written in prose.
Accents are an obvious indication of the character’sbackground and nationality e.g. Provincial English,European, American etc.
The change in tone and dialogue, indicating differentemotions or sarcasm.
The creation of a character is a combined product of thecreativity of the playwright, the director and the actor.The latter two arrive at a decision at the beginning ofrehearsals about the way they want to present thecharacter. They try to stay true to the intention of theplaywright.
Plays within plays and references to other worksoften included in a script.