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Reading & Studying Drama. Differentiation from prose fiction.

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Differentiation from prose fiction
Differentiation from prose fiction

  • “There is a strong family resemblance between drama and prose fiction. Both genres are narrative text types, and it is for this reason that the theory of drama and the theory of narrative texts cover a good deal of common ground” (Jahn D1.1)

  • A play is a multimedial form designed to be staged in a public performance. A play is 'multimedial' in the sense that it uses both auditory and visual media: a play's audience has to use their eyes as well as their ears (a novel, in contrast, is a 'monomedial' form). (Pfister)


Narrative communication in drama from manfred jahn s a guide to the theory of drama 2003
Narrative communication in dramaFrom Manfred Jahn’s “A Guide to the Theory of Drama”, 2003

  • On the outer level, nonfictional communication occurs between playwright (primary author) and director, producer, actors, composer, etc. (secondary authors), based on the text.

  • On the intermediate level, fictional mediation sometimes occurs in plays using a narrator.

  • On the innermost level, fictional action occurs when the play’s characters communicate with each other, both verbally and nonverbally.


Freytag’s Pyramid (1965):Well-known timeline model describing the structure of a classical five-act tragedy; also applicable to other formats

Define the elements above in A Streetcar Named Desire


Vocabulary i
Vocabulary I

  • act: a major unit (or structural division) of a play

  • aside: words spoken directly by actor to audience

  • catastrophe: action at a tragedy’s end, initiating the denouement

  • catharsis: purging of emotion (pity and fear) in a tragedy’s audience

  • chorus (refrain): characters in tragedy who comment but don’t participate

  • denouement: the resolution of the plot at the end of a play

  • deus ex machina: the resolution of a play’s conflict with supernatural intervention, or any artificial means

  • dialogue: conversation between characters

  • drama: literary composition intended to be performed by actors

  • dramatic monologue: speech made by character to silent listener

  • dramatis personae: the characters in a play (from Latin)

  • exposition: first stage of a drama, providing background information

  • falling action: action following climax, leading to denouement


Vocabulary ii
Vocabulary II

  • fourth wall: imaginary removed wall in play’s set

  • gesture: physical movement by character during a play

  • mise-en-scène: arrangement of a play’s scenery to represent setting

  • pathos: play’s action that stimulates pity in audience

  • props: articles or objects appearing on stage

  • rising action: conflicts and crises that lead up to a climax

  • scene: subdivision of a play with fixed setting & continuous time

  • script: the written (as opposed to performed) form of a play

  • set: objects and backdrop making up a stage scenery

  • soliloquy: a speech in a play meant to be heard by the audience, but not the other characters on the stage

  • stage direction: playwright’s descriptive or interpretive comments

  • staging: the spectacle a play presents on the stage

  • tragedy: play involving reversal of fortune, characterized by suffering

  • tragic hero: privileged, exalted character who suffers a fall from glory


Visualize the characters
Visualize thecharacters




Sources those in boldface are the most informative
Sources: those in boldface are the most informative

  • http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppd.htm

  • http://www.theatregiftvouchers.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2

  • http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072405228/student_view0/drama_glossary.html#reversal

  • http://www.csus.edu/indiv/s/santorar/engl190v/pref-notes-street.htm

  • http://makingtheturn.net/blog/2010/04/a-streetcar-named-desire/

  • http://cphshops.com/photos/albums/paints/Streetcar_set_2.sized.jpg

  • http://www.robertaonthearts.com/id340.html

  • http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/31/1992426.htm

  • http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/theatre/2009/12/14/091214crth_theatre_lahr

  • http://www.rosemaryharris.net/rosephoto.html

  • http://phillyist.com/2009/02/27/phillyist_reviews_a_streetcar_named.php

  • http://www.1stbusiness.com/arts/artent.htm

  • http://www.offoffoff.com/theater/2008/blanche_survives_katrina_in_a_fema_trailer_named_desire.php

  • http://www.flixster.com/photos/marlon-brando-a-streetcar-named-desire-marlon-brando-as-stanley-kowalski-11910125

  • http://www.liketelevision.com/blog/archives/2008_06_01_archive.html

  • http://www.ravenwoodmasks.com/theater-masks/greek-masks.htm


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