Elements of Drama - Informative & researched article on Elements of Drama
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Elements of Drama
Elements of Drama comprise theme, audience, dialogues, stagecraft, convention, music, characters, and dramatic structure. All these elements enhance the entire production.
 
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  DramaThe elements of drama is inclusive of Thought, Theme, Ideas, Action or Plot, Characters, Language, Music, Spectacle and many others. Drama on stage often reflects the life in general or the drama of daily life. Readers of the play need to imagine, not just the feelings or a flow of action, but how the action and the characters appear in a theatre and on a stage before a live audience. Thus, there are many elements that make up Indian drama. Right from the theme, plot of the play, the costumes, to the dramatic representation and audience; it is the totality that actually makes the drama a success.

The various elements that encompass the making of a drama have been discussed below in details-

Themes in Indian Drama
Theme of drama refers to what the play means as opposed to what happens or the plot. It is concerned with the jovial play of thoughts and ideas within the crux of the play. Sometimes the theme is clearly stated in the title. Otherwise, it is generally stated through a dialogue by a character acting as the playwright`s voice; or it may be that the theme is less obvious and emerges only after some study or thought. The abstract issues and feelings that grow out of the staged dramatic action comprise the theme of the piece.

Plot in Indian Drama
The plot of a drama refers to the order of the events that happen in a play. Actually, a plot is the weaving of the line of thought and series of events referring to what happens rather than what it means. The plot is usually structured with acts and scenes and the action and movement in the play begins from the initial entanglement, through rising and falling action, climax, and to resolution. The interest generated by the plot has its crests and troughs of variation for different kinds of plays. The plot of the drama is shown in the Through-Line of the drama, its beginning, middle and end. Drama does not always have to be presented in a linear structure. The characters in a play are also part of the plot as they initiate action, action paves he way for events finally metamorphosing into a plot. The content of the drama lies in the themes it deals with, example bullying, the responsibilities of power and the bravery of ordinary people.

Audience of Indian Drama
Theatre requires an audience, since live audience also has an important impact on the way plays are created. The physical presence of an audience can change a performance, inspiring the actors creating a wide array of expectations. The presence of live actors on the stage in front of live audiences sets it apart from modern day films and television. Hence, authors calculate for the effect of the audience rather than for the silent response. With this in mind, most plays are written which deal with topics that are contemporary and cater to the audience the plate they can be in-tune with. However, Bijan Bhattacharya who explored the horizons of Indian Street Theatre revolutionized the concept leading to the emergence of an intelligentsia who indulged in much fun as they received face to face audience.

Dialogues in Indian Drama
Dialogues in Indian Drama refers to the word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors delivering the lines. Language and dialogues delivered by the characters move the plot and action along, providing exposition and defining the distinct characters. Thus, in short, the dialogues also provide the substance of a play.

Stagecraft in Indian Drama
The stage creates its effects in spite of, and in part because of, definite physical limitations. Setting and action tend to be suggestive rather than panoramic or colossal. Both setting and action may be little more than hints for the spectator to fill out.

Convention in Indian Drama
Convention in Indian Drama is the starting point of the theatrical performance. This element is considered as the domain of the playwright in theatre. It is the pure process by which the playwright`s work is brought to life by the director, actors, designers, technicians, dancers, musicians and any other collaborators that come together on the script, scenario, or plan. This is the work in progress stage.

Genres in Indian Drama
There are different genres of plays, which are divided into the categories of tragedy, comedy, melodrama, and tragicomedy. Each of these genre/forms can be further subdivided by style and content.

Tragedy: Tragedy is presented in the form of action, which will arouse pity and fear in the audience as it witnesses the action or karma, an indispensable feature of Indian philosophy. Tragedy is serious by nature in its theme and deals with profound problems. In classical tragedy and the modern problem play, tragedy is a play in which a central character or the Tragic hero walks the journey from fortune to misfortune and is finally defeated by some overwhelming threat or disaster. This reinforces the emphasis on action derived from character, which explains the psychological and moral interest of much great drama. Tragedy will involve the audience in the action and create tension and expectation. With the climax and final end the audience would learn a lesson and leaving the theatre not depressed or sullen, but uplifted and enlightened.

Comedy: Comedy should celebrate the comic spirit and is physical and energetic. Traditionally Indian comedy and humour is defined as a play that bestows on its characters good fortune, or more popularly, a happy ending. In comedy there is absence of pain and emotional reactions. There are situational comedies, romantic comedies, sentimental comedies, dark comedies, comedy of manners and pure farce. The behaviour of the characters presented in a comedy is ludicrous and sometimes absurd and the result in the audience is one of correction of behaviours.

Melodrama: Melodrama portrays disaster and differs from tragedy significantly; the external forces cause all the mishaps to the characters creating all of the significant events of the plot. The protagonist is usually a victim of circumstance. He is acted upon by the antagonist or anti-hero and suffers without having to accept responsibility and inevitability of fate. Melodrama has a sense of strict moral judgment, where all issues are resolved in a well-defined way.

Audience Tragi-comedy: Tragicomedy is the most life like of all of the genres. It is non-judgmental and ends with no absolutes. It focuses on character relationships, absurdities of life and shows society in a state of continuous flux. There is a juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy side by side in these types of plays.

Characters in Indian Drama
These are the people presented in the play that are involved in the perusing plot. Each character has a distinct personality, age, appearance, beliefs, socio economic background and language in the play. The way an actor plays a role, using his/her acting skills to create a character in a drama, is termed as characterisation.

Music in Indian Drama
Music in Indian Drama means the sound, rhythm and melody of the speeches. Music can encompass the rhythm of a dialogue and speeches in a play or can also mean the aspects of the melody, music compositions as with musical theatre. Music can also expand its empire to all sound effects, the actor`s voices, songs, and instrumental music played as underscore in a play. In the aspects of the musical, the songs are used to push the plot forward and move the story to a higher level of intensity.

Spectacle in Indian Drama
The spectacle in the theatre generally involves all of the aspects of visual elements of the production of a play; the scenery, costumes, and special effects in a production. It also refers to the shaping of dramatic material, setting, or costumes in a specific manner. Each play is coloured with its own unique and distinctive behaviours, dress, and language of the characters. The style of a playwright comes to the forefront in the choices made in the world of the play: the kinds of characters, time periods, settings, language, methods of characterisation, use of symbols, and themes.

Dramatic Structure in Indian Drama
It refers to the form of drama and the way the story is told, the way the characters play their parts, and/or the way the themes are explored. Dramatic structure involves the overall framework or method by which the playwright whips his wield over the domain of the dramatic material or action to organise the same. Most modern plays are structured into acts that can be further divided into scenes. Generally the wants and desires of one character will conflict with another character. With this method the playwright establishes a pattern of complication, rising action, climax, and resolution.

Contrast in Indian Drama
The use of contrast in drama productions like stillness contrasted with activity, or silence contrasted with noise is a useful way to focus the audience`s attention. A drama being played with no change of pace or rhythm, mostly fails to hold on to the audience`s interest, but can be brought to life with the use of contrasting sights and sounds.

Symbols in Indian Drama
Dramas are produced to a great extent through the use of symbols or representations standing in for real things. Stage theatricality incorporates symbols; like props, gestures, expressions, costume, lighting and setting. Modern drama in India is rich in symbolism under the able guidance of playwrights like Badal Sarkar, Girish Karnad etc.

The other elements of Indian drama include design, visual element, conversions, performance, etc. In most of the dramas screened today, the audience will find a mixture of all the elements discussed above, as most playwrights tend to utilise a bit of all the elements. Artistic consideration in playwriting requires selection and arrangement. Art is a skill acquired by experience, study, and clear observations.

(Last Updated on : 26/02/2013)
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