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I know this is no time to start some sort of blazing romance But You were just so damn slow......


Revelation of information that the audience needs to know in order to understand the play. Exposition may happen either through scenery, sound effects, action, or dialogue


A hint of whats to come


Events or lines that make the audience want to find out what is going to happen next


Even though it is important to plant seeds, avoid making your outcomes predicable

Plot twists

Keeps the audience interested, don't let them surpass the importance of other elements of the play, they should be plausible

Dramatic Irony

Situation in which a character makes a remark that the audience is intend to understand as ironic, or in contradiction to the full truth


Any event or series of events that heightens the audience attention


Calling attention to something by placing it in the foreground against a background


Action that takes place off to the side or in the background while the main action continues; byplay captures the audience's attention and adds humor without being overly distracting


The play must communicate the truth about life and the human condition.


The play tends to cut out all the downtime, randomness, unrelated details, and unimportant monotonies of real life


The characters have to have something important hanging in the balance

The passover question

A Play must show us the most critical moments in the main character's life

Personal Demon

Something that we struggle with for our whole lives


Tragic Flaw

Scene of Recognition (Anagnorsis)

A Moment when a main character had a realization or makes a significant discover regarding the conflict, a truth about the past, the truth about herself, or the irony and/or severity of the present situation. Also Known as Anagnorsis, or epiphany


A story that is alive in your subconscious and that needs to come out and be told


The world of the play is introduced. We learn about the setting, the characters, and the basic situation of the play


The event the sets the conflict into motion. At this moment wit becomes clear who the main character is and what he/she needs to do


This usually makes up most of the play. The main character attempts to achieve his/her dramatic need


The ultimate fray between opposing forces in the play


It shows how the world of the play had or has not changed due to the resolution of the conflict

Three Act Structure

Act 1: Introduce the problem, Act 2: Develop the problem, Act 3: Resolve the problem

In Medias Res

When a play will begin with the intrusion or in the midst of the launch

Deux Ex Machina

A plot in which all of a sudden something comes out of nowhere at the end and makes everything all right

Traditional Comedy

The protagonist succeeds

Traditional Tragedy

The protagonist fails


The protagonist succeeds or fails but the result is not exactly what the protagonist though it would be. Or perhaps, the protagonist gets what he wants, but also get another thing that he wasn't expecting or hoping for


Sometimes relate to the main plot merely through a similarity in theme. Sometimes they feed into the main plot, affecting its outcome.


Dramatic need+Obstacle=Conflict

Physiological Needs

Those things without which we cannot live: food, water, air, shelter clothing. Survival

Safety Needs

Security, stability, order, protection, and freedom from fear or danger

Social needs

Love, acceptance, belongingness

Ego needs

Esteem, reputation, self-respect, status, metaphysical worthiness

Self-Actualization Needs

Creativity, self-expression, personal fulfillment


Anything that occurs


An Event that causes or permits another vent to happen


An Event that is caused or permitted by a trigger


When one character speaks for an extended time

Contained Monologue

When one character speaks for an extended period of time, to the other character within a scene

Direct Address

A character talks directly to the audience


Short speech to the audience with out the other characters hearing


A play consisting of one long monologue; a one-person show


A character speaks his/her internal thoughts, while alone on stage


Lines exchanged between two or more characters


Short choppy dialogue

Chunky Dialogue

Dialogue that is monologue heavy (lots of longer speeches being exchanged between 2 or more characters).

Unified Time

Aristotle spoke of the notion of The Three Unities (Place, Time, and Action). This meant that the entire play was to occur in one location with one continuous flow of action and time.

Episodic Time

A play that takes place in several short episodes (scenes or acts) over the course of a relatively short period of time (i.e., a weekend, a month, a season, a few years, etc.) Scene locations may vary or stay the same.

Epic Time

A play that takes place in several short episodes (scenes or acts) over the course of a long period of time (i.e., a lifetime, the duration of a war, an era of some sort, etc.) Scene locations may vary or stay the same.

Non-Sequential Time

When the scenes of a play do not progress in chronological order

Multi-Temporal Sequential

Multiple stories happening in different time periods are woven together to create one play.


Scenes that occur in the past--outside of the time sequence established by the rest of the script. Rather than simply having a character tell the story of what happened long ago, the playwright can simply write that scene and include it in the play. Rather than simply having a character tell the story of what happened long ago, the playwright can simply write that scene and include it in the play.


A vast jump forwards in time.

Periscope Ending

when the final scene occurs a long time after the climax. In this final scene, the effects of the climax are revealed through exposition.

Framing Device

A device in which a setting and a few characters are established. Then, one of the characters will begin telling a story which makes up the bulk of the play. At the end we return to the original characters, realizing how the story has affected them.

Scenes Outside Of Time

The dramatization of fantasies, dream sequences, hallucinations, etc.

Ebb and Flow

A play's focus and retreat from the its central conflict. Longer plays retreat from the main conflict in order to provide backstory, create atmosphere, explore character dynamics, and provide comic relief.


The notion of only including characters, actions, speech, and settings that are absolutely essential contributions to the plot and theme(s).


the feeling of release after the dramatic tension of watching a tragedy


the strategy a character uses in order to get what he or she wants; how the character attempts to remove the obstacle to his or her need.


what is really meant by what is said


the use of one tactic in the context of a play/scene/act; most scenes have multiple beats

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