Dramlit Basics for Playscript Analysis :
"3 Act" structure vs. "5 Acts"
"4 Acts" (Ibsen, Chekhov, Gold Age of Realism)
"2 Acts" (contemporary)
Scenes and Acts [ naming them ]
... 1-2-3 :
A. Exposition (page)
C. "Resolution" [ samples ]
shows.vtheatre.net [cases] : from Oedipus to Godot
... anatolant.vtheatre.net -- dramaturg directory [ dramaturgy menu=pages ]
google group playwrighting & playwrighting.net [ not developed ]
plays.vtheatre.net [ my scripts mostly & write.vtheatre.net ]
MAIN * filmplus.org/plays *
"Theatre Before Theatre" -- writing and wrighting
"Dramatic Compositions" [ director's theatre ]
... archives of dramlit classes @ yahoo groups.
You want to learn drama -- study masters!
my film/theatre blogs
The most famous of the Aristotelian rules were those relating to the so-called unities--of time, place, and action. The unity of time limits the supposed action to the duration, roughly, of a single day; unity of place limits it to one general locality; and the unity of action limits it to a single set of incidents which are related as cause and effect, "having a beginning, a middle, and an end." Concerning the unity of time, Aristotle noted that all the plays since Aeschylus, except two, did illustrate such unity, but he did not lay down such a precept as obligatory. Perhaps tacitly he assumed that the observance of the unity of place would be the practice of good playwrights, since the chorus was present during the whole performance, and it would indeed be awkward always to devise an excuse for moving fifteen persons about from place to place. The third unity, that of action, is bound up with the nature not only of Greek but of all drama.
2002 shows: Dangerous Liaisons
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
Read Theatre Theory @ THR
SummaryUnity of Time: Requires the play's action take place in twenty-four hours or less.
Unity Of Place: Requires the play's action take place in a single locale.
Unity Of Action: Requires the play to dramatize only one central story or action which eliminates action not relevant to the plot.
QuestionsTime : A. mentions in one passage only (V.4) that, as opposed to Epic poetry, tragedy tends to confine itself to a 'single revolution of the sun'...
Action : very important - it should be one action (praxis), that is, one related set of actions:
"the mimesis is one when the object imitated is one, so the plot, being a mimesis of an action, must imitate one action and that a whole, the structural union of the parts being such that , if any one of them is displaced, or removed, the whole will be disjointed and disturbed. For a thing whose presence or absence makes no visible difference, is not an organic part of the whole" (VIII: 4)
The length of the action should be such that it "may be easily embraced in one view; so in the plot a certain length is necessary, and a length which can be easily embraced by memory" (VII: 5).
Notes'Persona' more than 'character': " Neither an individual nor a person in the full sense ... [but] an analogue limited by some kind of functionality, ... an aspect of identity, verging towards individuality and selfhood and having in consequence as much unity as his complex functionality will allow" [Garton, 1972, 16].
Intro to Play Analysis
Page & Stage
Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays by David Ball; Southern Illinois University Press, 1983 : - Part One: Shape - 1: What Happens That Makes Something Else Happen? - 2: And What Happens Next? - 3: But Do It Backwards - 4: Stasis and Intrusion - 5: Obstacle, Conflict - 6: Ignorance is Bliss (or: the Very Cause of Everyone's Lunacy About Hamlet) - 7: Things Theatrical - Part Two: Methods - 8: Exposition - 9: Forwards: Hungry for Next - 10: Missing Persons (character) - 11: Image - 15: Families - 16: Generalities: Mood, Atmosphere - 17: The Unique Factor - 18: Changing Eras - 19: Climax - 20: Beginnings/Endings - 21: Rereading - 22: What Next?
* Anagnorisis is the recognition (by the protagonist) of error, of the 'true' state of affairs, or of the consequences of the protagonist's actions and decisions: an 'organic' recognition (i.e. with a sense of internal necessity) is best. [Best kind of plot is one where the peripeteia and the anagnorisis occur together - like in Oedipus the King -- "the most powerful elements of emotional interest in Tragedy - Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and [anagnorisis] Recognition scenes - are parts of the plot." ].
* Hamartia: often wrongly translated as "tragic flaw" or moral fault - but more correctly as "error in judgement due to inadequate information about the circumstances", "miscalculation": not due to moral fault
* Hubris : is an 'overweening pride' or arrogance: not found in Poetics ! The notion of the hubristic tragic character is, I think, mostly irrelevant to Greek tragedy.
" the centre of gravity of Aristotle's terms is situational and not personal . He [Aristotle] is talking about a reversed state of affairs and a recognition of, a discovering of the truth about, a state of affairs which was unknown before or misapprehended... " [Jones, 1962, 16]
1 -- Exposition, 2 -- Climax, 3 -- Resolution
See more @ Dramatic Analysis or go to Drama classes: Dramatic Lireature and Playscript Analysis.
Many books and tapes explore the craft of writing. Two cover foundation issues of storytelling with a clarity and insight that make them particularly valuable. They are:
Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing!
Syd Field's Screenplay, The Foundation of Screenwriting
The Art of Dramatic Writing!
Egri's book covers the gamut of storytelling:
How to develop an idea into a story.
Understanding how a one sentence story premise can serve as the basis for a story's dramatic structure.
Understanding how to create dynamic characters.
How to choose and create a pivotal character.
Understanding the unity of opposites as a way of perceiving characters who will feel compelled to act in a dynamic way to fulfill a story's premise.
How to avoid creating conflict that "jumps," i.e., conflict that appears unsupported by the action and events happening around it.
How to create transitions between story elements.
The role of crisis, conflict and resolution in a story.
A final section of the book addresses the questions, what is art?
Melodrama? What are the boundaries on experimentation?
Egri explores these questions and many others in a way that will benefit many writers.
Screenplay, The Foundation of Screenwriting
Syd Field's book has been called the bible of screenwriting. It lays out the form and structure of modern screenplays in a clear, easy to follow manner. His ideas on story structure are very grounded in the fundamental principles of telling a story. He suggests that:* Writers introduce their story in a script's first ten pages in a way that makes it clear that characters have something at stake in the story, and thus feel compelled at act.Some have attacked the book for turning out a generation of "formula" writers. I would counter that if a writer can't follow Field's dramatic formula to write a screenplay, they would struggle to write a non-formula, complex story. I recommend beginning screenwriters start with Field's book.
* By page 25, Plot Point One, an event should take place that makes it visible and concrete why the story's main characters have no choice but to resolve what's at stake in the story.
* Create complications to the resolution of the story that generate dramatic suspense over the story's course and outcome.
* Use that dramatic suspense to lead the story to a point that all seems lost to the story's protagonist(s).
* At this point, Plot Point Two, the story's protagonist(s) overcome the obstacles blocking their path in a way that ensures the story has a positive outcome.
Other Helpful Books And Sources of Information
The Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats
Part 1: The Screenplay
This book answers many questions concerning the proper formatting of screenplays.
Charles Deemer's Screenwriters and Playwrights Home Page
Writers with questions about writing screenplays can find a wealth of helpful information at Charles Deemer's Playwrights and Screenwriters Page. Charles' site was one of the first on the web to offer information on screen and playwriting, and it's still one of the best.
The Motion Picture Prescription by Dr. Gary Solomon
This book reviews over 200 movies that cover such topics as alcoholism, abuse, mental illness, recovery, obsession, etc. Dr. Solomon found in his practice as a therapist that people enmeshed in difficult issues could have trouble gaining perspective on their situations, but through watching a movie with characters in similar situations, and with some insight from Gary's review of a particular movie, people could be helped to gain a fresh insight on their own situations. [ For more information about the book, please contact Dr. Solomon at The Movie Doctor. ]
@2001-2003 Theatre w/Anatoly *
* GODOT.06: Doing Beckett => main stage Theatre UAF Spring 2006 *
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