Drama Terms (Alphabetical) A to D Words
Terms in this set (48)
When a situation is presented, explored and resolved.
Following the work of Stanislavski the actor plays an action according to their character scene or whole play objectives. This is expressed in terms of a verb according to what they want. For example an actor's action in a scene might be to impress, to please. An action change occurs when the character gets new information and has to decide if this is 'good for me or bad for me' and then undertake a new action in response. These actions may not be part of the script directions.
A space that is used in a purposeful way for a drama event but that space was not built for that purpose.
Exploring in performance and responses to drama the role of human senses in making meaning and creating emotional or other experiences. Aesthetics relates to the principles and science of what engages our sensory attention and leads us to respond in particular ways.
Aesthetic distance is achieved by creating an emotional or cognitive break from a drama or other artwork in order to objectively analyse what is taking place. The absence of aesthetic distance is one quality an audience employs when 'suspending disbelief'.
Alienation (see Aesthetic distance)
This term relates to the work of Brecht who sought to remind audiences that what they were watching was just a play. He deliberately included devices such as banners of text or signs, presentational acting styles, use of music and songs to break up the performance. Also known as the Verfremdungseffekt.
The character that exists in the drama performance in opposition to the protagonist. It is the antagonist that presents often obstacles or complications for the protagonist.
Notes written on or next to sketches, diagrams or illustrations add succinct analysis and explanation about approach or intended effects. Annotations can also be on texts or scripts describing, for example, acting notes to record blocking, director's notes and character notes.
Particular drama practitioners develop particular ways of preparing and performing drama.
See Elements of Drama.
Different cultures and societies have particular expectations or 'rules' about what is an appropriate way for an audience to observe and respond to a performance. Audience etiquette will vary according to the venue and occasion as well as the form and style of the drama.
Audience members will have particular ideas about a play, actors, company, playwrights, directors or a venue. These expectations contribute to their experience of drama.
Identification occurs when an audience connects emotionally or ideologically with the characters, narrative and/or dramatic action.
Technologies that assist the quality or dynamics of the sound in a performance.
The production area set aside from the main performance space where the performer may withdraw from the action or non-actors (backstage or production members) can prepare and support the action.
The process and record of where action takes place on the stage, where and when actors move and how this happens in relation to the script.
German theatre writer, director and scenographer (1898:1956) who built on the work of Erwin Piscator to develop theatre approaches (called Lehrstücke) that produced different emotional and thematic effects on his audiences. This work, including the creation of alienation effects in a performance, later became known under the title 'Epic Theatre'. Brecht's theatre sought to achieve social and political transformation especially in response to forces like the rise of Nazi Germany.
Built performance spaces
This refers to a venue that has been designed and built to be a performance space. Sometimes known as 'architectural spaces'.
Bumping in: at the beginning of a performance season, Bumping in refers to moving everything in to a performance space to set up for a production.
Bumping out: at the end of a production (or its relocation to a new venue in the case of a touring show) everything related to that production is cleared out of the theatre. Bumping out could also involve moving everything into trucks or containers to be transported to the next venue or storage space.
In Greek Theatre, the emotional release experienced by a character and therefore the audience through a character's critical discoveries, journey, or downfall. In contemporary use, it reflects the emotional release of a character who vents or explodes emotionally at another character as a result of an irrational build-up of stress or anxiety. The audience, like in Greek Theatre, shares this 'venting' and may empathise with the behaviour and its irrational release.
This refers to the changes of set, props and actors between scenes or sections of the play or performance.
Actors develop detailed character biographies or profiles as part of their characterisation processes. The character profiles are based on what is known about the character from the script together with imagined contextual information.
This process is key to presenting a realistic character. Using the techniques developed by Stanislavski and others who followed him, actors make decisions about how their character will move and speak, what gestures and habits they might have and what they would wear. As part of their characterisation, actors develop a character profile to help them bring the character to life. Characterisation may also be developed in relation to non-realistic characters. For example, in Shakespearean texts where a psychological view of character or Stanislavski's method were unknown.
Research about the history, location, culture, economics, relationships, politics and beliefs, attitudes and values related to a character or text will provide contextual knowledge.
Constructions of identity and otherness
How the world around us and the way we live and act towards others constructs who we are and who we are not.
The usual ways of doing something. Sometimes conventions are based on reasons of safety considerations or they relate to a preferred approach. Conventions also reflect particular historic traditions.
A way of analysing and viewing social, cultural or dramatic elements in terms of its impact on particular members of society. It provides tools with which to consider the values central to a phenomenon and the impact of those values in particular members of society. For example, a feminist framework, sceptical framework, Marxist framework, Queer Theory and environmentalist framework. It is sometimes used to consider the impact of particular values on the marginalised members of a particular society.
A cue is a signal that something is about to happen. For example a lighting cue in a stage manager's prompt book is the signal to tell the lighting operator to make a planned lighting change. A stage direction may contain a cue for a character to enter or exit the stage.
The wealth of a culture that is not able to be measured in money or things but creates a positively connected sense of community or an inspired community can be referred to in terms of cultural capital. For example, a school production might not be a financial success but it will add to the cultural capital of the school through positive relationships and increased collaboration and improved self-esteem. Cultural capital also refers to the development of values which improve the social and cultural success of an individual, especially for employment. For example, the ability to compromise, empathise, remain flexible and participate in cultural valued activities.
What a group of people collectively believe to be important, unimportant, right or wrong are their cultural values. Cultural values are not fixed but continually changing for different people in different times, places and circumstances.
A narrative in which the dramatic action ends the same way it begins. This structure is used to imply an endlessness to a human experience (that is, it will happen again) or to complete a mystery in which the action 'flash backs' to explain what lead to the opening event.
The point in the narrative in which the conflicts are resolved, the characters experience often a kind of catharsis suggesting a feeling the dramatic action is concluded.
Design diagram conventions
The commonly accepted ways of presenting diagrams in drama practice such as how to create a stage manager's prompt book, ways of presenting lighting designs, stage design and costume designs.
Devised drama typically refers to drama which is created through collaborative exercises where the participants improvise and then refine their improvisations to create a final drama performance.
Characters talking to each other in a drama performance is dialogue. This also refers to the spoken word in a play.
The process of deciding how to create and realise (bring to life) the dramatic action is undertaken by the director. This will include the identification of an approach to directing as well as the development of a vision of how the drama performance will be approached.
The creation of a clear image (visual or otherwise) of how a drama event will be presented to a particular audience. This includes approaches to acting, aesthetics, design and dominant themes. It may also include an attempt to find a new approach that emphasises different aspects of a text or reflect a particular critical framework.
Documentary drama tries to present the facts about an event or phenomenon by presenting the points of view of a range of people. In this way it tries to educate and inform audience about some issue or event. This may be in an attempt to promote change through awareness.
The creation of imaginative worlds and human experiences using the Elements of Drama.
Drama events include but are not limited to the performance of a play. Other types of drama events could include ritual celebration, a drama festival, improvisation competition, or an improvised performance.
All of the information pertaining to the Section 1 script or script excerpt in the written component of the WACE Drama examination. This may include director notes, images, program notes and additional information about the script excerpt in performance.
Dramatic action occurs when a situation is presented, explored and resolved or brought to a conclusion.
Includes the broad categories of representational and presentational or non-realistic drama and their relationship to linear and non-linear narrative structures. Structure, techniques and conventions are relevant to chosen drama form or style's approach. This includes approaches to structure as follows:
Dramatic structure - Episodic
Episodic structure: the action of a drama is broken into smaller scenes often with the rapid development of narrative elements. These scenes move between settings, groups of characters
Dramatic Structure - Well-made Play
Expanding on the work of Aristotle's poetics, this structure featured a careful construction of an exposition, a rising conflict that increases in complexity and dramatic tension, a climax close to the end of the play, a denouement in which key events are 'explained' or unpacked for the audience and conclusion that may include a life ethic or moral for the audience.
Involves researching, critically analysing and interpreting the historical, political, social, and cultural aspects of a play. A dramaturge works with the director and as a member of the production team to support the construction of a performance based on a new, published or devised text.
This term is often used to describe the nature of the relationship between the performance and the audience where both react to each other so that no two performances are alike in live theatre.