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Convention in drama is an agreement between author and audience that a

situation or idea will be presented in a particular way. This agreement is not a
written agreement, it just a habit. Its function is to be representative, so that the
audience can accept what they see as real. Below are some kinds of conventions in
1. Convention of construction: acts and scenes
Acts are the longer divisions of drama. Modern plays are often divided
into two or three acts. They can have many scenes or the acts can be undivided.
2. Convention of construction: the passing of time
It is a convention that a long period of time can be represented in a play
that only takes two or three hours to perform. This means that the structure of a
play-the way it is put together-must convey the passing time.
It also convention that playwrights indicate the passage of time between
act and scenes by stating in the stage directions that so many days, say, has
3. Convention of language: verse and prose
It is conventions in many plays that character speak in verse and prose.
The important characters usually speak verse, whereas the minor one uses prose.
Quite often an important character has a high social standing, whilst the minor one
has not.
4. Convention of language: character talking about themselves
It is convention that there are some ways of character talking themselves.
They are: 1). Using the third person, 2). Dramatic self-disclosure, 3). Kings
referred by name of country.
5. Convention of language: you and thou
The using of you and thou indicate the emotional tone of the scene. The
distinction is that you is used when the occasion is formal and speaker wants to
remind listener of the social difference, but thou when the speakers are equal and
the mood is friendly and intimate.
6. Convention of language: the soliloquy
A soliloquy occurs when a character is either alone or isolated upon the
stage and speaks aloud his or her thoughts. It is convention that soliloquy is

placed at the beginning or the end of a scene, although it doesnt always.

Soliloquy is always two kinds, public and private soliloquy.
7. Convention of language: the aside
The aside is the convention in which a character momentarily turns away
from the character to which he or she is either listening or speaking and addresses
the audience directly.
8. Convention of action: the chorus
The convention of the chorus seems strange because it makes drama a
mixed medium. On the stage are actor who are representing characters, but they
are joined by another figure who openly advertises the artificiality of the stage by
refusing to be a character like the others talking directly to the audience about
what is going on.
9. Convention of action: disguise
What are important about disguise are the dramatic opportunities it
presents. It also notices that characters hardly ever see through it.
10. Convention of action: dance, music, and song
Dancing was an expression of peace and harmony between people, and
even of the peace and harmony of the universe. Music is expression of harmony.
Drama is not something just read or heard, it is acted out before an
audience. It follows that there must be something about the language of drama
that makes it different from non-dramatic poetry or prose. The difference is
because the language of drama suggests or invites action. It should invite
embodiment in action. Of course, most of the words in drama dont invite
movement, but if no words at all do, the play will be undramatic.
Some of the actions suggested by the words have more than a particular
importance. Words can invite actions which are significant for the whole meaning
of play. Language and mood can be looked upon as instruction to actors.
A very important characteristic of dramatic language is its ability to
indicate how actors should be grouped upon stage. Because it not sufficient just to
mention groups.


We can only learn about a character from the words of the play. It means

that our sources of information are dialogue, soliloquy and, in certain special
cases, stage directions. A playwright, unlike a novelist, cant tell us things directly.
When we look at the words of a play we see four ways in which characters are

The way they speak

What they say about themselves
What they say about each other
How they are contrasted
The most important point about character in drama is what makes a

character distinctive is the way in which he or she speaks.

The stock character in drama is like a flat character in a novel; that is,
someone who has only one or two features rather that being fully rounded. One of
conventions of English drama is that there are a number of stock characters whom
the audience can recognize.

The plot of a play can be defined as all the actions of all the characters,

and the reasons for them. The plot must act out or embody what the play is about.
At the beginning of a play, therefore, the playwright must bring the issues of the
plot quickly and clearly into focus.
A sub-plot is a separate piece of action which is less important than the
main plot; it might use a different set of characters though it could also use some
from the main plot. In many cases sub-plots echo the themes of main plots, which
is why playwright invites audiences to see the connection between scenes.
Simply, plots can be divided into: Beginning, Climax, Anticlimax, and

Both tragedy and comedy are genre of drama. Tragic plots offered a bleak
vision of life; they concentrate on failure, conflict, and disaster. In most tragedies
two aspects of this vision are stressed, they are chaos and death. Tragedies usually
centre on one character-a man of exceptional qualities in a high position. This
central character is called the hero. The title indicates the characters
importance; a hero larger than life, almost god-likes, and is at the centre of myths
and legends.
In comedy plot is primary, what delights and intrigues audience is the
complex interweaving of a number of characters with different set of ambitions.
The audience will certainly anticipate that all will end well, but they frequently
both perplexed and fascinate to see how the playwright will achieve this.
Drama is what called a performing art. As a result, plays are the most
immediate, the most intense and the most communal of all literary works. They
are immediate because they are acted out in front of an audience, intense because
what is said is concentrated into few hours and communal because they are
enjoyed and judged by a group of people who have specially gathered to view
them. There are some elements of drama that can make up theatrical performance,
namely: atmosphere, staging, actors, and performance.

When we see a play in theatre, we are aware of its atmosphere. The play

creates a particular mood or feeling. In order to appreciate the play, we must look
at three components (the character, the actor, and the imagery).

Staging has important role in drama. There are some types of stage in


1) The traditional stage is that of an acting space behind the proscenium arch,
from which hangs the curtain. The audience, as it were, see the action of
the play through the window formed by the proscenium arch. This type
of stage is appropriate to plays that have realistic setting and deal with the
manners and social habits of everyday living.
2) The arpon stage, which projects out into the body of the theatre, so that the
audience sit on the three sides of the acting area. Some theatres that have
arpon stage have no proscenium arch, but others retain this feature.
3) Theatre in the round is a stage which, rather like a circus ring is
surrounded by the audience except for the entrance and exit point.
Staging not only including about stage it self, it is also include scenery,
costume, and lighting.
Stage scenery is usually the responsibility of the designer. In some plays, a
specific set is required. Other plays are not quite specific, but their words make it
clear that a particular kind of setting is necessary.
Costume, like scenery, should be appropriate to the play. It should express
the particular character of an individual and contribute to the atmosphere of the
play. It is therefore, a useful exercise to ask ourselves how we imagine the
characters to be dressed.
Although lighting is a recent introduction to the theatre, it is very powerful
way of creating atmosphere.

When we stage a play in the theatre of our imagination, we will have some

ideas of what kind of actors would be suitable, and how we think they should
perform their parts. We are free to imagine what kind of movement an actor
makes and the kind of groupings that would be suitable on the stage.
We must remember that in many plays we are offered a number of
opportunities. It is very rare that a play need to be acted in one particular way. We
should also remember that actors bring their own particular personality to bear
upon a part. When, therefore we think about actors, we should remember that the
words of a play are a starting point for a number of different performances. With
those qualifications in mind, we can think about three things: age, size, and voice.

When we have thought about the kind of actors that would be suitable, we

can go on to consider about how the play is performed. There are a number of
points we should consider, namely:

The effect of actors presence

The use of pause
The contribution of music and dance
The effect of spectacle, ghosts and fights

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