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Friday, December 05, 2008

VI Semester FEP Questions on Theatre

Dear III Year FEPians/ites,

  • You may post on any term or concept related to theatre or drama.
  • Please avoid posts on terms or concepts already posted on unless you can justify that previous post is wrong or inadequate
  • In case you are taking the material from websites or books, please provide the reference.
  • If you need a format for reference click here
  • Please make your posts before 10 December.
  • Please leave your register no, if not name with your posts.
  • If you need any clarification please approach Shruti P or contact me via blog or email.


shyamalika said...

When we think of drama and theatre we often undermine the importance of the stage. In the first yr we were taught about the different types of stages and how they can influence the performance. This raised platform is what draws the attention and keeps the focus of the audience on the play.

Anil Pinto said...

Shyamalika, wondering what concept or term you were clarifying...

Sumathi Nagesh said...

The narrator in a play is the one who is telling us the story, the one who is narrating. The voice of the narrator and the playwright may be the same. But sometimes the playwright may use the narrator as a disguise, giving him the freedom to comment.
The narrator guides the audience through the play. The necessity of a narrator in a play is debatable at times. He/she tends to color the audiences' perception of the play. Until this is a deliberate move by the playwright, a narrator is avoided. Another function of a narrator is that often he/she is used as "Authorial Spokespersons to clarify issues for us”.
Toscan, Richards. “The Playwriting Seminars: Using a Narrator”. Virginia Commonwealth University. 8 December 2008.


Nehal Shah said...


"A major division of a play. Such a division was introduced into England by the Elizabethan dramatists... by structuring the action so that it fell into five acts. Late in the nineteenth century, a number of writers followed the example of Chekhov and Ibsen by constructing plays in four acts. In the present century, the most common form of non-musical drama has been three acts. The end of an act is usually indicated by a dropped curtain and an intermission."

Abrams, M.H. A glossary of literary terms. 3rd ed. India: Macmillan. 2000.

shruti said...

Dialogues contribute to the audible aspect of drama. It refers to a spoken contact between two or more people. In the context of drama, its between characters. In any play, for the story to move on, the use of dialogues is inevitable. The story is narrated to the audience through dialogues written by the playwright. The success of a drama depends hugely on the contents of a dialogue and the quality of dialogue delivery by the actors of a play.
When a day-to-day conversation is used by an actor on stage, it gains general and typical qualities and the context into which it is put gives it more intensity.It acquaints us qith background information and the past and helps develop the situation, hence directing us towards the future. The function of a dialogue is to impart to the audience, the covert and overt meaning of the play.

Oak, Manali. "Elements of Drama." Buzzle. 26 Nov. 2008.

Styan, J.L. "The Elements of Drama." Cambridge:University Press, 1963:11-14.

-Shruti P

shruti said...


'Tragedy through pity and fears effects a purgation of such emotions'. So, in a sense, the tragedy, having aroused powerful feelings in the spectator, has also a therapeutic effect; after the storm and climax there comes a sense of release from tension, of calm. It is the effect of tragedy upon the audience: a purging of the emotions of pity and fear by their presentation on stage. The word describes the purging of emotions (usually defined as pity or fear) that takes place at the end of a tragedy.

"Basic glossary of literary terms" Fortunecity.
9 December 2008

Shruti Sanghani

Aarathi Sivadas said...

Most stories and films end with a final resolution to the conflict that is expressed. The same goes for a play. Denouement is nothing but the unravelling of the complications presented in the play, or in other words the final resolution. Novels use the same term.
Aarathi Sivadas

Anonymous said...

Conflict makes a play more interesting. Conflicts are seen not only in plays but also novels and movies. Creating a conflict and then eventually resolving it, keeps the audience hooked on and more involved in the play. conflicts are very natural and a lot of the viewers can relate and connect to the conflicts that take place on stage with their own personal life and experience. There are many different types of conflicts like within families, friends, lovers, or even between siblings.
Creating conflicts is bad but it constitutes to an essential part of a play.
Krithika Gopinath

Anonymous said...

why would creating a conflict in a play be wrong?


Hamartia was used by Greek philosopher Aristotle mainly to discuss Tragedies. It is commonly reffered to as the "Tragic Flaw" in the hero of the play. In most cases it this Flaw which leads to his/her downfall. Eg. Macbeth, Macbeth's flaw was his ambition.

Shruti Naik

Akshay Rajmohan said...

Method Acting:

A term often used in films today was originally a technique used by actors in theatre. It refers to the actor drawing upon his similar personal experiences, emotions and sentiments and "transferring" them onto his character so that his acting appears more real and believable.

Muddled Mind said...

Theatre of the Absurd:
A form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence by employing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and confusing situations, and plots that lack realistic or logical development.

M. Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd (1962)

Parnika Reys Gamat

Aliya Mathew said...

Character actor:
Character actors are those who specialise in, or predominently play a particular type of role rather than a leading one. They are usually supporting actors that do not play the romantic lead but funny, strange and generally more exaggerated, offbeat roles. Their faces are therefore familiar to us, but their names are hardly well known. Character actors essentially play the same character over and over, and tend to get typecast.
Aliya Mathew

Sudeeptha said...


"A theatrical performer; a stageplayer."
The ancient Greek word for an actor, means literally "one who interprets";in this sense, an actor is one who interprets a dramatic character."

Sudeeptha. G.V

Anonymous said...

It is the presence of mind by an actor to improvise when;
1) another actor fails to enter on cue
2) the normal progress of the play is disturbed
3) lines are forgotten
4) It may also be a bad habit developed by some actors whereby unnecessary 'gags' are introduced into the dialogue.

Diana Vincent
06D30 52

ashley said...

is a large curtain or wall, often concave, positioned at the back of the stage area. It was popularized in German theatre of the 19th century and continues in common usage today in theatres throughout the world. it often encircles or partially encloses the stage to form a background. Cycloramas are often used to create the illusion of the sky onstage. By varying the equipment, intensity, colour and patterns used, a lighting designer can achieve many varied looks. A cyclorama can be front lit or, if it is constructed of translucent and seamless material, backlit directly or indirectly with the addition of a white "bounce" drop. Occasionally the cyclorama may be painted with a decorative or pictorial scene to fit a specific show, however these are generally referred to as backdrops.

Sara Mary Philip

MM said...


(from Latin hirpex - 'large rake used as a harrow'. Rehearse means 're-harrow', or to 'go over again'. It originally meant 'to repeat' in the mid 14th century. It wasn't until the late 16th century that it came to it's modern meaning.)

A session when actors are called to work through some scenes from the play in private.
A TECHNICAL REHEARSAL is the first time when technical elements (lighting, set etc.) are combined with actors. A DRESS REHEARSAL is a performance of the show as it will be on opening night.

I found this on a site called the Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms.

Madhuvanthi Mohan
06D 3072

Anonymous said...

In the arts, the Baroque was a Western cultural period, commencing roughly at the beginning of the 17th century in Rome, Italy. It was exemplified by drama and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music
In theatre, the elaborate conceits, multiplicity of plot turns, and variety of situations characteristic of Mannerism (Shakespeare's tragedies, for instance) were superseded by opera, which drew together all the arts into a unified whole.

Theatre evolved in the Baroque era and became a multimedia experience, starting with the actual architectural space. In fact, much of the technology used in current Broadway or commercial plays was invented and developed during this era. The stage could change from a romantic garden to the interior of a palace in a matter of seconds. The entire space became a framed selected area that only allows the users to see a specific action, hiding all the machinery and technology - mostly ropes and pulleys.

This technology affected the content of the narrated or performed pieces, practicing at its best the Deus ex Machina solution. Gods were finally able to come down - literally - from the heavens and rescue the hero in the most extreme and dangerous, even absurd situations.

The term Theatrum Mundi - the world is a stage - was also created. The social and political realm in the real world is manipulated in exactly the same way the actor and the machines are presenting/limiting what is being presented on stage, hiding selectively all the machinery that makes the actions happen.

The films Vatel, Farinelli, and the staging of Monteverdi's Orpheus at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, give a good idea of the style of productions of the Baroque period. The American musician William Christie and Les Arts Florissants have performed extensive research on all the French Baroque Opera, performing pieces from Charpentier and Lully, among others that are extremely faithful to the original 17th century creations.

Jacob C Anand

Antony joel said...

Time plays very important role in dramas, a drama to come out really well it should have a specific time period as in 1 hour or 2 hours it just can’t go on endlessly. Silence, music, dialogues everything should have a specific time period, silence, music, dialogues can’t go on at a stretch. The beginning of a play should indicate the time as in whether the drama begins in the early morning setting or other times. Dialogues between two characters should have specific time. If time is not kept for every single elements that are there in the drama it create confusion to the audience.

Antony joel said...

Time plays very important role in dramas, a drama to come out really well it should have a specific time period as in 1 hour or 2 hours it just can’t go on endlessly. Silence, music, dialogues everything should have a specific time period, silence, music, dialogues can’t go on at a stretch. The beginning of a play should indicate the time as in whether the drama begins in the early morning setting or other times. Dialogues between two characters should have specific time. If time is not kept for every single elements that are there in the drama it create confusion to the audience.

V.Antony joel sibu


Irada said...

Poscenium Space:
"The proscenium space is characterized by a proscenium arch. The proscenium arch is the frame which separates the stage from the auditorium and forms an outline for the stage. Another characteristic of this space is the location of the audience on only one side of the acting area."


miju... said...

emotion in theatre:

Emotion is defined as an acute mental state that arises without conscious effort, evoking either positive or negative responses. It is differentiated from feeling in the sense that feeling is the subjective experience of the emotions.

Most theatre practice involves a conscious attempt to influence the emotions of the audience through the manipulation of production elements like music, lighting, staging, etc. Playwrights show characters in conflicting action evoking emotions perceivable through symbols.

Mijula J


Anonymous said...

One of the main distinguishing features of a theatrical performance is the presence of a live audience.For all forms of art the public is essential as the play is being directed towards them. The physical presence of an audience can change a performance, inspire actors, and create expectations. Theatre is a living breathing art form. The presence of live actors on the stage in front of live audiences sets it apart from modern day films and television. Therefore it is important for not only the writer to keep his audience in mind while creating a master piece, but it is also important for every performer to understand the kind of audience that will be watching the play.I think people are more conscious of this today as we see a lot of interactive plays and plays that continually keep the viewers in mind.


Malavi said...

Musical Theatre:

Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. The emotional content of the piece: humor, pathos, love, anger, as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called simply, "musicals".
Musicals are performed all around the world. They may be presented in large venues, such as big budget West End and Broadway Theatre productions in London and New York City, or in smaller Fringe Theatre, Off-Broadway or regional productions, on tour, or by amateur groups in schools, theatres and other performance spaces. In addition to Britain and North America, there are vibrant musical theatre scenes in many countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Some famous musicals include Show Boat, Oklahoma!, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, Hair, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, and The Producers.
The three main components of a musical are the music, the lyrics, and the book. The book of a musical refers to the story of the show, in effect its spoken (not sung) lines; however, book can also refer to the dialogue and lyrics together, which are sometimes referred to (as in opera) as the libretto (Italian for “little book”). The music and lyrics together form the score of the musical. The interpretation of the musical by the creative team heavily influences the way that the musical is presented. The creative team includes a director, a musical director and usually a choreographer. A musical's production is also creatively characterized by technical aspects, such as set, costumes, stage properties, lighting, etc. that generally change from production to production (although some famous production aspects tend to be retained from the original production, for example, Bob Fosse's choreography in Chicago). The 20th century book musical has been defined as a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story, with serious dramatic goals, that is able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter.
There is no fixed length for a musical, and it can range from a short one-act entertainment to several acts and several hours in length (or even a multi-evening presentation). However, most musicals range from one and a half hours to three hours. Musicals today are typically presented in two acts, with one intermission ten to 20 minutes in length. The first act is almost always somewhat longer than the second act, and generally introduces most of the music. A musical may be built around four to six main theme tunes that are reprised throughout the show, or consist of a series of songs not directly musically related. Spoken dialogue is generally interspersed between musical numbers, although the use of "sung dialogue" or recitative is not unknown, especially in so-called "sung-through" musicals such as Les Misérables and Evita. Musical theatre is closely related to another theatrical performance art, the Opera.

"Musical Theatre" Wikipedia.

10 December 2008

Malavi Madhusudan

sublime_xtasy said...


In or toward the area behind the performing space in a theater, especially the area comprising the dressing rooms.

As an 'adjective' it refers to- Concealed from the public; private.

taken from-

ON a more lighter note- "backstage is where you run to when you want to communicate with the audience but don't want to be seen...the hero in the dark"...:-D...-AISHWARYA.C.


Brian 'Curmudgeon' Polson said...

Irish Acting:
Acting term coined earlier this century to describe a lack of gestures but confident delivery of lines.


Huzzi said...

Drama can be analyzed as switches in role and location on a time continuum. The intensity of the drama is influenced by the number of switches in a time period (Script Velocity) and the contrast between the positions switched (Script Range). Low velocity or range is boredom. The time for each switch varies independently, from surprise through suspense.


[1] Steiner, C. (1966). Script and countercript. Transactional Analysis Bulletin. 5/18. P133.


sudhir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wickedcookie said...


Pronunciation: \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin soliloquium, from Latin solus alone + loqui to speak

1 : the act of talking to oneself
2 : a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.

Soliloquies are, i have noticed, a tool used quite often in
Indian television serials where a character branches off from the main conversation and thinks aloud in quite a comical manner. I wouldn't say its an outdated technique but it does bode well only for a shakespearen or similar themed play.

sudhir said...

Plot: The order of events occurring in a play is referred to as the plot of the drama. It is the basic storyline that is narrated through a play. The entertainment one derives from a play depends largely on the sequence of events that occur in the story. The logical connection between the events and the characters, which enact the story form an integral part of the plot of drama.
source :
Sanil Augustine

sudhir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Visual Element: While the dialogue and music constitute the audible aspect of drama, the visual element deals with the scenes, costumes and special effects used in it. The visual element of drama, also known as the spectacle, renders a visual appeal to it. The costumes worn by the artists must suit the characters they are playing. Besides, it is important for the scenes to be dramatic enough to hold the audiences to their seats. The special effects used in a play add to the visual appeal. Thus, the spectacle forms an essential component of drama.
Michael PC

Anonymous said...

Theme: The theme of a drama refers to the central idea of the play. It can either be clearly stated through dialogue or action or can be inferred after watching the entire performance.
source :

Shinto VP

sudhir said...

Silence : It is a very important element in theatre or drama. It creates an anxiety in the minds of the audience to know what would happen in the next few seconds or minutes or acts.

Sudhir C

richaa (06D3058) said...

Noh Theatre ( Japanese theatre)

Noh—its name derived from nō, meaning “talent” or “skill”—is unlike Western narrative drama. Rather than being actors or “representers” in the Western sense, Noh performers are simply storytellers who use their visual appearances and their movements to suggest the essence of their tale rather than to enact it. Little “happens” in a Noh drama, and the total effect is less that of a present action than of a simile or metaphor made visual. The educated spectators know the story’s plot very well, so that what they appreciate are the symbols and subtle allusions to Japanese cultural history contained in the words and movements

Anonymous said...


A farce is a comedy written for the stage or film which aims to entertain audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity,verbal humour of vrying degrees of sophistication, which may include sexual innuendo and word play, and a fast paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene. Farce is also characterized by physical humour, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances.

Many farces move at a frantic pace toward the climax, in which the initial problem is resolved one way or another, often through a deus ex machina twist of the plot. Generally, there is a happy ending. The convention of poetic justice is not always observed: The protagonist may get away with what he or she has been trying to hide at all costs, even if it is a criminal act involving crazy costumes.

Farce in general is highly tolerant of transgressive behavior, and tends to depict human beings as vain, irrational, venal, infantile, and prone to automatic behavior. In that respect, farce is a natural companion of satire. Farce is, in fact, not merely a genre but a highly flexible dramatic mode that often occurs in combination with other forms, including romantic comedy. Farce is considered a theatre tradition.

As far as ridiculous, far-fetched situations, quick and witty repartee, and broad physical humor are concerned, farce is widely employed in TV sitcoms, in silent film comedy, and in screwball comedy. See also bedroom farce.

Annu Albert

Anonymous said...

Off-Off-Broadway theater

Off-Off-Broadway theaters are defined as theaters that have fewer than 100 seats. The shows range from professional and successful productions by established artists like Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theater in the East Village, to extremely small amateur performances, and take place all over New York City.
Off-Off-Broadway began in 1958 as a reaction to Off-Broadway, and a "complete rejection of commercial theatre".
An Off-Off-Broadway production that features members of Actors Equity is called an Equity Showcase production. The Union maintains very strict rules about working in such productions, including restrictions on price, the length of the run and rehearsal times. Professional actors' participation in showcase productions is not infrequent, and in fact comprises the bulk of stage work for the majority of New York actors.

Nina Mathew

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Greek Tragedy
the word "tragedy" refers primarily to tragic drama: a literary composition written to be performed by actors in which a central character called a tragic protagonist or hero suffers some serious misfortune which is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that the misfortune is logically connected with the hero's actions. Tragedy stresses the vulnerability of human beings whose suffering is brought on by a combination of human and divine actions, but is generally undeserved with regard to its harshness. This genre, however, is not totally pessimistic in its outlook. Although many tragedies end in misery for the characters, there are also tragedies in which a satisfactory solution of the tragic situation is attained.
Tragedy was a public genre from its earliest beginnings at Athens; that is, it was intended to be presented in a theater before an audience. Epic originally was also a public genre. Homer chanted the Iliad and Odyssey to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument called a kithara before an audience. Epic continued to be recited by rhapsodes at festivals like the Panathenaia, but it gradually became more of a private genre to be read from a manuscript at one's leisure. This happened in part also to tragedy. In the fourth century Aristotle in his Poetics points out that it is possible to experience the effect of tragedy without public performance (i.e., by private reading). Tragedy was still being written and produced in the Athenian theater in Aristotle's day, but the plays of the three great tragedians (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides) and no doubt of other playwrights were also being read privately. Reading, of course, is our primary means of access to ancient tragedy except for occasional modern productions, which help us to a certain degree to appreciate its theatricality, but for the most part provide quite a different theatrical experience from that offered by the ancient productions.
Private reading of tragedy deprives us of the visual and aural effects, which were important elements of this genre. Our word theater is derived from the Greek word theatron, which contains the stem of the verb theasthai 'to view as spectators'. Drama is a Greek word meaning 'action', related to the verb dran 'to do'. The author of a tragedy was not just a writer of a script. When his work was approved for presentation at the state religious festival in honor of the god Dionysus (the City Dionysia), the state assigned him actors and a chorus. The author then had to perform the additional tasks of training the actors and chorus and of composing the music for the various songs of the actors and chorus and providing choreography for the chorus. Because we usually read tragedies rather than seeing theatrical productions of them and also because our reading is usually in translation, we miss the following elements which are additional aids to interpretation beyond the script of the play: scenery, inflection of actors' voices, actors' gestures and postures, costumes and masks, singing, dancing, sounds of the original language and its various poetic rhythms. These handicaps, however, are no reason to neglect tragedy. We still have the most essential element of drama, the words, the playwright's most important medium of communication. According to Aristotle, "the plot is the soul of tragedy" and the plot is communicated to the audience primarily by means of words. You should, however, keep in mind that words are not all there is to tragedy. Use your imagination as much as possible in order to compensate for those theatrical elements lost in reading tragedy.


Anushka Lewis said...

sound :
sound is one of the most important ingredients in theatre. it is one of the most powerful tools of expression even if it is silent. sound can create a mood, set a tone and one small deviation can change the complete set up of your script. it is powerful and should be used with alot of care. if sound is handled in the right way in the right time on stage, a director will have nothing to worry about!

- Anushka Lewis

Manila Mathews said...

A theatrical property, commonly referred to as a prop, is any object held or used on stage by an actor for use in furthering the plot or story line of a theatrical production. Smaller props are referred to as "hand props". Larger props may also be set decoration, such as a chair or table. The difference between a set decoration and a prop is use. If the item is not touched by a performer for any reason it is simply a set decoration. If it is touched by the actor in accordance to script requirements or as deemed by the director, it is a prop.

- Manila Mathews

Anonymous said...

comedy - drama
Comedy-drama, also called dramedy and dramatic-comedy, is a style of television and movies in which there is an equal, or nearly equal balance of humor and serious content.

Traditional western theatre, beginning with the ancient Greeks, was divided into comedy and tragedy. A tragedy typically ended with the death or destruction of a fictional or historical hero, whereas a comedy focused on the lives of middle to lower class characters and ended with their success. The term "drama" was used to describe all the action of a play.
In the early 1800s, as theatrical writing became more subtle and plays were less likely to end with multiple deaths, the term "drama" began to be used to describe plays that were more sober, with "comedy" meaning plays that were funny rather than plays which ended happily. Since then, the terms have remained relatively subjective. Authors such as Anton Chekhov, George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen blurred the line between comedy and drama.

rachita sethi 06d3057

Surekha 06D3074 said...

Latin for God in the Machine. A mechanical device used in Greek classical and medieval drama to lower an actor playing God from the flies above the stage to resolve the conflict in a play.
The mechanical crane that carried the DEUS EX MACHINA was known as MECHANE.
The term sometimes refers to a character which has a similar function in a more modern drama.

Primrose, Jon. "The Theatre Building." Theatre Crafts. Ed. Jon Primrose. Feb. 2007. Lightheart Design. 12 Dec. 2008.