CLASS: SENIOR TWO
UNIT I: KEY ASPECTS OF PROSE
UNIT II: SUBJECT, THEMES AND MESSAGES
UNIT III: LITERARY DEVICES AND AUDIENCE
UNIT IV: BALLADS
UNIT V: POETIC DEVICES
UNIT VI: SUBJECT, THEME AND CONTEXT
UNIT VII: DRAMATIC TECHNIQUES
UNIT VIII: SUBJECT MATTER, THEME AND MESSAGE
UNIT VII: DRAMATIC TECHNIQUES
VII.1. REVIEW OF KEY ELEMENTS IN A PLAY
Dramatic techniques are the tools or devices used by playwrights to help the audience understand and enjoy a play. The key elements of a play are: plot, setting (including context) and characters.
Plot refers to the author’s arrangement of the events of a play in terms of cause and effect. It is how the events are connected, leading to the conflict. The conflict can either be internal or external. The plot is carefully arranged with logical series of events having a beginning, middle and end.
The parts or elements of a plot
- Introduction/exposition: It is the opening part of a play which introduces important information to the audience. This information includes the setting, characters and the conflict is also introduced.
- Rising action/complication/development: It is the part of a plot which comes after introduction. This part is where the events/actions rise. A lot of tension and suspense are built in this part.
- Climax/crisis: In drama, it is the turning point. It is the highest point of interest. It is where the main characters have to make decisions that must resolve the main conflict of the play.
- Falling action: It is the point where the events begin to lead to the conclusion of the play. At this point, the conflicts begin to be resolved and the main character(s) either lose or win against the problems.
- Resolution/denouement/conclusion: This is where the conflict is resolved or concluded. There is a sense of finality and conclusion. The character(s) might live happily ever after.
It is the point in time and location in which a drama takes place. It is the historical period, geographical place and socio-cultural aspect during which events in a play take place.
In a play, setting is established in several ways:
-Notes from the playwright:The playwright might state clearly the setting.
Ex: The action takes place in a coastal town in southern Norway.
-Through the characters’ dialogues, costumes and behaviours.
-The stage sets: This is what the set designer arranges on stage.
Ex: The set may suggest that the characters are poor, or that is a palace or that it is a sea shore. During the performance, the set may also include props and stage lighting.
-Through the stage directions:The playwright may use stage directions to let the readers or audience know where the action is taking place.
Characters are people, animals or things that play a part in a play. Characterization is the playwright’s presentation and development of the characters in a text.
Characterization is made better in drama by the use of suggestive/symbolic/revealing costume, suggestive names, manners of walking, dialect etc. Sometimes masks are used to enhance characterization. The most important tool for the development of characters in a drama is dialogue.
Like in prose, we can also have the following characters in drama: main characters, minor characters, positive characters, negative characters, …For more
In drama, characters’ names are written followed by double points. The double points are also followed by the characters dialogues.
Ex: GONGOLO: Which responsibilities have I not shouldered?
KYATE: Buying cooking-pans for your wife.
VII.2. DRAMATIC TECHNIQUES
Dramatic techniques are the tools or devices used by a playwright to help the audience understand and enjoy a play. Those dramatic techniques include dialogue, monologue, soliloquy, body language, flashback, asides, entrance, exit, props and costumes.
In drama, dialogue refers to a conversation between two characters on a particular subject.
– makes a play enjoyable and lively.
-reveals the characters to the audience through their words, actions and thoughts.
-creates the tone of the play.
-presents the exposition or cause of conflict.
It is a long speech by one character in a play to the audience.This speech is intended to be heard by other characters. The audience might be audience within a play [or those who are watching a play]. Monologue can be heard by other characters on stage and they can respond.
This is long speech by one character in a play to himself or herself in order to reveal to the audience his/her thoughts.
- Body language (gestures & facial expressions)
Body language refers to gestures, postures and facial expressions of an actor. They help a person to manifest various physical, mental or emotional states. This way he/she communicates non verbally with others.
Ex:- Kyate smiles when Gongolo agrees to buy the cooking pans.
-Nodding a head.
In theatre and drama, body language is used to convey the mood and emotion with subtlety.
Flashback is a technique in drama by which an event or a scene that took place before the present time in the play is inserted into the chronological structure of the play.
-gives insight into a character’s current motivation and emotional state. It makes the audience understood why a character behaves in a particular manner.
-shows an event that happened years before the play began which is vitally important for the audience to know in order to fully understand the conflict of mysterious circumstances around which a play revolves.
-enhances suspense in a play which arouses interest and curiosity among the audience.
It is a short comment or speech from a character that is spoken directly to the audience. It is only meant for the audience. It reveals inner thoughts. Asides are shorter than soliloquies, usually one or two lines.
- An aside gives special information to the audience about the plot and other characters on stage.
- It gives better understanding to the audience about the essence of the matter.
- Asides also give enjoyable experience to the audience as an actor talks to them directly, drawing them closer to his/her actions and thoughts.
The similarities between an aside and soliloquy is that a single character speaks directly to himself or audience and no other character can hear the speech.
The difference between them is that an aside is shorter while a soliloquy is a longer speech . An aside reveals hidden secrets or judgements whereas the soliloquy reveals motives, inner thoughts or internal struggles going on in the mind of the character.
Entrance in drama refers to the coming of an actor or other performer on stage.
In drama, exit is the act of going off/leaving the stage
They refer to any objects used on stage or screen during a performance or screen production.
Ex: Stick, water, radio, match, chair, …
Costumes refer to any kind of cloth or dress used by actors on stage during a performance.
Ex: hat, shoes, dress, trousers, shoes…
VII. 3. PURPOSE
In composition, the term purpose (also known as the aim or writing purpose), refers to a person’s reason for writing, such as to inform, entertain, explain, or persuade. Playwrights write plays to achieve particular ends. This is what is referred to as purpose in drama. For more
The purpose of a play may for example include:
VII.4. TYPES OF CHARACTERS
- Round character
A round character is a complex and fully developed character. We may relate to this kind of character as a human being since we come to know so much about him or her. The protagonists develop with the story and we are able to account for the changes that occur in their lives.
- Flat character
A flat character is unsophisticated or plain. The story may not reveal so much about a flat character. Flat characters are not central to the story. A flat character may only have ‘two’ sides, representing only one or two character traits.
- Stock character
A stock character is one who is easily recognized by readers or audiences from recurrent appearances. He or she is easily recognizable because of his or her flatness. Stock characters tend to be easy targets for parody and criticism. For more