Elements Of Drama That Every Theater Major Should Know

Sunday, October 9 by Jason Cuthbert

When it comes to identifying the key elements of drama, what better expert to refer to than the great Aristotle? Drama has evolved from stories past on verbally, theatre, television, movie theatres, and now Internet videos. But whether you are creating or analyzing drama, these six elements of drama will provide you the potent recipe required.

  1. Theme. This element of a story's drama is the emotional feeling and ideas that the character(s) undergo. Key thematic ideas can be delineated through the dialogue or the situational plot elements of the story. The theme is what the story "means" not what happens, which can be subjective and differ from viewer to viewer.
  2. Plot. The plot is the dramatic element that is the series of events that happen in the story. There needs to by a unifying connection between these various plot points and situations that the main character faces. These conflicts that the protagonist face while trying to achieve their goals contain obstacles that usually lead to a climax and a resolution.
  3. Characters. The characters are the individuals that are involved in the plot that unfolds through the course of the story. They may be the main focus or have minor involvement. It is vital that this element of drama is diverse, with all the characters having their own beliefs, behaviors, motivations, personalities, and appearances.
  4. Language. The dramatic element known as language is a mixture of the choice of words used by the story's writer and how these words are then spoken by the actors that bring these characters to life. Language helps to distinguish the geographic, cultural, emotional, and age definitions of the characters. Language should push the plot forward and give the audience an understanding of the character's desires, fears, and outlooks on life.
  5. Music. In theatre and film the "musical" genre uses music to actually tell the story. Characters often break out into song or choirs are employed to perform predetermined song selections that explain the stories themes and heighten the plot. But even in non-musical stories music is still an element of drama that explains the rhythm in which dialogue is written and spoken in. Music can also refer to tunes that capture the mood, historical time period, or personal preferences of the characters.
  6. Spectacle. In drama, the element known as "spectacle refers to the visual decisions that have been made to excite the audience and keep the story entertaining. The settings that the scenes take place in, costumes, props, and special effects that will be needed all add up to spectacle. These need to be memorable moments that the audience will walk away with and share with others.

 - Jason Cuthbert  

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