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Name E-mail

:Dr. Lajiman Janoory : lajiman @fbk.

Nombor Telefon : 05-450 5381

No.bilik : FB 3-8

Drama you will analyse: Greek tragedy- Oedipus Rex by Sophocles Shakespearean comedy- The Taming of the Shrew Modern Drama- A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen Theatre of the Absurd- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett Malaysian Drama- Jebat:The Death of a Warrior by Usman Awang

A Brief History of Drama

Three theories about the origin of drama. First theory:

early humans perceptions of the forces that

appear to influence or control their lives attributed natural events that affected them to supernatural or magical forces began to perform rituals to see if actions would affect natural events

Second theory:
through the activity of storytelling
A narrators story of events being played by

different persons

Third theory:
imitations of animals or out of narrative

forms of dances and songs


Which of the theory above do you feel best explains the early development of drama? Give your reason.

Concerning the Drama, the Theatre, and the Play

What is drama? Theatre? Play ?

Interchangeable meaning

Written form
Private rather than social experience Greek word dran- to do

Aristotle: an imitation of an action as

opposed to represent an action in prose Only partially concluded

The performance of drama Greek word theatron- to watch or a place

for seeing Theatre not only a setting for seeing. Also pretending, make-believe games. Human arena for understanding human condition revealing human truths. Physical feature of theatre has important effect on audience, Ex: representational or unrepresentational

The production of drama
Involving efforts other than the dramatist. Ex:

director, creative artists, lighting technicians etc A social experience rather than private matter

In general:
Drama is a form of literary composition for

performance in the theatre, where the actors take the role of characters, perform the action indicated, and utter the written dialogue.

Drama + theatre= play





There are many dramas that have been performed on stage. Have you read and watch the same drama/play? Are there differences in your experiences between reading a drama and watching it performed? What are the differences?

Tragedy Social Comedy



Docu-mentary Farce

History Dark Comedy


A tragedy

deals with serious human issues such as suffering, downfall and more often than not, death. normally involves the fall from grace of the main protagonist who, in classical tragedy, must be of noble birth. brings out pity and fear as it shows how weak we are as mere mortals in the face of a greater power. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles is acclaimed by Aristotle as the perfect tragedy.

A comedy

is the opposite of tragedy. A tragedy begins with the elevation of the protagonist to a higher social or moral status and ends with his or her downfall. A comedy begins with confusions and conflicts and ends happily with the resolution of the confusions and conflicts. usually followed with a marriage or marriages. less emotive and intense in theme since a comedy does not attempt to evoke a deep sense of pity and terror but more to elicit laughter than shock.

A melodrama
is a serious play with unimportant theme. The protagonists are more likeable than heroic and the villains are too obvious in their wickedness. presents to the audience a simplified version of life of good versus evil and good against bad. seldom delves into the more complex human issues as in a tragedy and a play of this genre normally ends pleasantly. Intellectually a melodrama is empty but it is compensated by pleasurable and amusing endings.

A farce

is a comical and humorous play on a trivial theme. The most common plots will be mistaken identity, illicit romance and elaborate misunderstandings. Identical twins, lovers in closets, full stage chases, switched potions, switched costumes (often involving man and woman), and misheard instructions are the often used methods to produce outrageous situations and uproarious response from audience. The Bear by Anton Chekov is an example of farce.

is often called a tragedy that ends happily. As a subgenre it attempts to bridge between tragedy and comedy. Tragicomedy maintains the serious mood and tone throughout the play but it always ends happily.

Dark comedy

is the opposite of tragicomedy. If tragicomedy ends happily, dark comedy is a comedy that ends tragically.

The history play

deals with dramatisation of historical personalities and the events that surround their lives. established by Shakespeare. normally deal with English kings especially from 1377 to 1547 such as kings Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry IV, Richard III, and Henry VIII. maintain a serious tone but with sprinklings of humour thrown in.

The documentary
recent subgenre. Plots taken from trial transcripts, news reports, personal and official records. These materials are then brought on stage to highlight particular issues and points of view.

The musical play

relies on extensive use of music and songs. Usually the musical aspect is combined with another genre to create musical comedy, a musical documentary or a musical history.

sometimes called problem plays, evolved in nineteenth century and dominated the stage through the early part of the twentieth century. explores social problems and the individuals place in society. can be tragic, comic or mixed. Examples: Susan Glaspells Trifles, Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman and Henrik Ibsens A Dolls House.

Social dramas



Ampitheatres proscenium arch theatre open stage

thrust stage

theatre in-theround/arenas

promenade theatre

corridor/terrace theatre

of Greek origin and were slightly modified by the Romans. normally accommodate a large number of audiences for large scale productions. Plays that are full of ceremony and movement are suitable for these theatres.

Proscenium arch theatre

the most recognisable form of dramatic performance space. is a space in front of the back scenery. The word proscenium now means the front opening of the stage and the area around it. The arch is the frame surrounding the front of the stage. normally constructed as a permanent structure. As if audience is watching the play through a picture frame.

Open stage
has the audience facing the stage whereby the stage is at one end of the building. Modern and school theatres are open or a mix between this and proscenium. Advantage-suits many kinds of production with their simplicity in conceptual framework.

Thrust stage
This type of stage has a raised platform that thrusts out into the audience, who sits on all three sides. This theatrical set-up allows for excellent actor-audience contact and which draws in the audience into the action.

Theatre in-the-round/arenas
no stage curtain, little scenery and allows the audience to sit on all sides of the stage round, diamond, or triangular, with actors entering and exiting through the audience from different directions or from below the stage problems since actors at all times have their back facing some members of the audience allows for interesting and realistic staging

performance space is between two parallel groups of audience. Normally, does not have a permanent structure constructed to suit particular plays




Promenade Stage
there is no formal stage, both the audience and the actors are placed in the same space The performance starts when one of the actors draws attention to himself or light is pointed in such manner that draws attention to a particular person. During the performance actors will stimulate the audience to move around.


Performance stage depends on the type of play presented


Imagine that you are a drama director for your school. You are to stage a play performance to raise funds for your school. There are many theatres available in the town where you can perform the play. Choose the theatre that you think best suits your play. Explain your reason by stating the type of play, budget available and expected funds you wish to raise.