* 215 Dramlit
* 413 Playscript
Fall 2003: Modern Drama: Selected Plays from 1879 to the Present Walter Levy, Pace University ISBN: 0-13-226721-7 Prentice Hall Paper; 985 pp Published: 10/21/1998
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I recommend you study drama for its applications; I direct and write plays. I study dramatic structure in order to understand even simple feelings why do I like or dislike this or that movie. We are surrounded by dramatic messages and we have to understand their meanings. Go beyond "good and bad" into "wrong and right" land.
Drama is the most sofisticated kind of literature, because at the end the texts will have many other languages to express it on stage. If the subtext concept is difficult in novel, in theatre it's even more so!
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Fall 2002 THR215 Dramatic Literature: Bedford Compact Intro to Drama
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Well, some subjects I had to move to Theatre Theory (advanced pages somewhere between directing, writing, research and everything else).
Next THR215 DramLit is in Fall 2004 *
This page is supposed to serve as a map for pages on DRAMA. I have a similar guide-page for DIRECTING -- Directing Directory. Acting Pages Guide...
Classes:Dramatic Literature is the first class developed as web-able, see THR215. Follow the links in the online syllabus. The pages will be updated to serve the needs of THR413 Playscript Analysis course I teach, too.[ All my web-textbooks have actors as the main target, and -- directors. ]After 2004 THR413 Playscript will have a playwrighting segment (last three weeks) -- writing scenes. I started a new page -- writer!
Playscript AnalysisThis class starts where Dramatic Literature ends: The High Modernity. This is upper division (400 level) writing intensive course. I recommend to take DramLit first, or some English classes in criticism. It will help if you got some philosophy also. If you never heard of "The Poetics" by Aristotle, it will be difficult for you to study modern theories (see 200X Aethetics for the basics). There are a list of plays you must be familiar with before getting in this class; check the class-page for more details.
Live Students: If you believe (as I do) in self-education, go through Dramlit pages, read plays, take tests and come to see me.
"Dr. Hennequin, in his "Art of Playwriting," mentions the following different kinds of plays: tragedy; comedy; drame, or Schauspiel; the society play, otherwise known as the pièce, or the emotional drama; melodrama; spectacular drama; musical drama; farce comedy, or farcical comedy; farce; burlesque; burletta; comedietta. And he further subdivides comedy into ancient classic comedy, romantic comedy, comedy of manners, and comedy drama.
... It must not be inferred, however, that it is unimportant for the playwright to be reasonably certain as to the proper classification of his work. On the contrary, one of the principal sources of failure is the "romantic" mingling of the genres" in drama, the variation in the same piece from true comedy to mere farce, and vice versa; from comedy to melodrama; from character stress to strictly plot emphasis, As has been pointed out, this does not mean to say that farce and comedy, farce and melodrama, melodrama and tragedy, comedy and tragedy, may not be combined in successful plays. But such blendings are full of risk, except where managed with the utmost skill. Nothing is more confusing to the spectator than an abrupt and awkward shift of emphasis or key. Yet s ch an effect is only too easy for the playwright who has ill considered his characters, and who accordingly is prone to slip into conventional grooves of story-telling."
"QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1.From all the sources at your command, make as full a list of kinds of plays as you can.
2. Adopt some general scheme of grouping and place each kind in a suitable category.
3. In a sentence or two, describe the essential nature of each. Try to differentiate each kind from others akin to it.
4. Without forcing, try to find a play that illustrates each kind, but remember that many popular and entertaining plays overlap as to kind. We are now trying to differentiate types with technical accuracy, not condemning plays as worthless because they contain technical defects. They would be better plays technically had their authors observed more carefully these well-known laws—that is the viewpoint to take in trying to fulfill this assignment.
5. After you have succeeded in completing this table as well as possible, copy it in a note book, being careful to leave room for additions.
6. In a considerable number of plays point out the passages embodying exposition, characterization, conflict, situation, complication, increased suspense, crisis, contrast, connotative dialogue, humor of plot and of character, surprise, climax, dénouement, and the expression of the theme.
7. It is now time to be about writing your full-length play. Reread this volume, note-book in hand. Decide on a theme or a foundation incident, outline your plot, sketch the grouping of characters, develop your characters by description for your own guidance, determine on their relative prominence, and assign the space to be given to each act. Before beginning the actual writing, however, study carefully the next two chapters and leave the material gathered for the longer piece of work until you shall have labored faithfully at the writing of several one-act plays, both adapted and original. Take plenty of time to revise and re-revise; study the stage-books of successful modern plays; and lay your work aside to cool." Play Writing - Kinds Of Plays ( Originally Published 1915 )
Play Writing - The Characters
"The playwright's source of material is life. From what he sees of his fellow beings in all manner of circumstances, he selects those traits of character which to him seem significant and adapted to his purpose. By a process of combination and condensation he achieves his figures, letting them develop always in strict accord with logic. If he hopes to make them in any sense credible and real, he will draw them solely from his own personal experience. And, above all things, if he have the gift to do it, from curtain to curtain throughout his drama he will make them live."
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QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. From one of your own plots, describe a situation and give explicit directions for the "business "—all pantomime.
2. From any printed modern play quote a specimen of excellent poetic dialogue. Be sure to choose a play that has had actual stage production.
3. Similarly, give a good specimen of rhetorical dialogue.
4. Similarly, of realistic dialogue.
5. Write two specimens of realistic dialogue based on one of your own plots.
6. Write a specimen of dialogue using either epigram or delicate humor.
7. Write a bit of dialogue intended to reveal character.
8. Write a bit of dialogue intended to advance the plot. Base it on one of your own plots and explain your object in using the dialogue.
9. Cite as many instances as you can of (a) connotative dialogue; (b) connotative pantomime.
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