A drama is a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflict and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance. In its conception, it is the same as play, which is the stage representation of action or story, a dramatic composition.
Types of Drama
- Tragi-comedy e.g. Shakespeare, “The Winter’s Tale” or Chekhov, “The Cherry Orchard”
- Melodrama e.g. Christopher Marlow, “The Jew of Malta” or Thomas Kyd, “The Spanish Tragedy”
- Farce e.g. Zulu Sofola, “Wizard of Law” or Shakespeare, “The Comedy of Errors”
Features of Drama & Theatre
- Playwright: The dramatist or writer of drama whose art is normally subjected to the physical conditions of the stage before the creative process can be regarded as complete.
- Prologue: It is a formal introduction to a play or a drama, written in either prose or verse
- Dramatic Personae: The parade of all the characters involved in a play
- Protagonist: The character who takes the leading role in a play or novel and is in the forefront of the action. He is invariably the hero or heroine.
- Antagonist: The word is derived from a Greek original which means ‘contender’ or ‘rival’. Thus, the antagonist is in effect the main opponent of the protagonist against whose interest he is always working
- Conflict: The struggle for supremacy between the protagonist and the antagonist is the principal source of dramatic conflict in a play. There can be no drama without conflict.
- Climax: The climax of a play is the moment of greatest tension when the conflict attains its peak, and is now fully ripe to be resolved.
- Resolution: This is the point immediately after the climax when the conflict is finally resolved either in a comic or a tragic manner. It is a critical moment in the final determination of the play as a comedy or a tragedy. A less familiar word for resolution is denouement.
- Suspense: The state of anxious expectation or uncertainty usually brought about by keeping the render or audience wondering or guessing the possible trend of action or likely outcome of the conflict. This arouses and sustains the eagerness of the reader or audience to the very end.
- Catharsis: This is the effect of purgation of emotion which a great tragedy is meant to produce in the reader or audience. It is a process of cleaning the mind of unwanted emotion.
- Soliloquy: This is a dramatic device which enables the audience to gain access to the innermost thoughts of a character by having him or her talk to himself or herself when there is no other character with him or her on the stage.
Soliloquy means talking to one self when no one else is present. As a conventional device in drama, a soliloquy becomes probable in a drama because it is enacted on stage and the audience is present to hear it when a particular character is alone on the stage.
- To reveal the innermost thoughts of a character and the motivation behind his action
- To advance the plot when a character is made to reveal the step that he is to take or that which somebody else ought to take.
- For Comic and tragic effects.
- Flashback: A literary technique by which a previous scene or action can be recalled in a play to shed light on the present action. Flashback is a dramatic technique in which past actions and scenes or events are recalled for purposes of helping the reader t understand and connect the present and the future with the past.
- Interlude: A brief performance which serves as an intermission or interval to a main performance.
- Epilogue: This is the statement coming at he very end of the drama
- Cast: a list of actors and actress given defined roles in a drama by the playwright or director
- Tragic Flaw: A costly mistake made by the protagonist in a play or dram. It could also mean an in-built or intended weakness (flaw) which aid the downfall of the protagonist
- Chorus: It is a couple or a band of people in a play who takes it upon themselves as a group to comment on the proceedings of a dramatic action. The group sheds light on the unfolding events and prepares the audience for what is yet to happen.