Dramatic Writing and Play Production

Dramatic Writing , Dance of Language textbook Drama is action on the stage, a composition in verse or prose that is intended to tell a story through action and dialogue. In 5th century Greek drama and the drama of the English Renaissance, plays were not written as literary works but forms of entertainment, whether in an open, outdoor theatre in daylight, an inn yard, or an indoor theatre by candlelight, gaslight, or electrical lighting. The intended performance was oral communication, not written. The storytelling traditions of ancient cultures consisted of gesture and dance and song, essential elements of the performance. Comedy has its beginnings with the worship of the Greek god Dionysus, god of wine, in the 5th century BC. Later medieval comedy was defined by a happy ending. Throughout the ages, it was the intent of the author that produced the various kinds of comedy: satire, romance, intrigue, tragicomedy, black comedy, and musical comedy.

Dramatic Writing , Dance of Language textbook Tragedy also has its beginnings with the worship of Dionysus, in whose honor the tragedies were performed. This “goat song” play referred quite possibly to the sacrifice of a goat in the vegetation and fertility rituals connected to Dionysus. Major events happened off stage in Greek drama and were simply reported and commented on. The protagonist of tragedy always had an unhappy outcome that could be traced to his hamartia and hubris. Hamartia is the error in judgment that the protagonist makes, often because of his hubris, his false pride, but the resulting deeds are committed unwittingly, increasing the tragic sense of loss.

Today successful plays are written to be produced but also enjoyed by reading them in script or book form. According to Raymond Hull who writes plays and teaches play writing, playwrights today who want to write great plays should concentrate on conflict, character, complications, crises, catastrophes, and conclusions. The characters’ action and dialogue move the plot along, and the tension increases through complications until crises pile up to a catastrophe, a downward turn that consequently leads to a conclusion. In the end, a script, no matter how good or bad he says, cannot be considered a play until it is performed.

Dance of Language textbook Students of all ages interested in script writing should begin by reading as many plays as possible to understand what drama is all about. A good place to start is to try your hand at dialogue exchanges to create tension or mood without consideration of solving a problem or bringing the scene to a close. These exchanges are sometimes referred to as A/B scripts between two characters. Longer scripts could involve more scenes and more acts. With the exception of the one-act play, most plays are two to three acts and, like short fiction or novels, have a beginning, middle, and conclusion.