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drama paper #1

drama paper #1 - Hatcher 1 Anne Randall Hatcher PID...

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Hatcher 1 Anne Randall Hatcher PID: 7136-40256 DRAM 081 Section 001 Topic 2 a 18 September 2007 Pledge: From Tyler to Daly Over the past two centuries, playwrights have both launched and advanced American drama. For example, one can see many changes in the 80 years that passed between Royall Tyler’s The Contrast (1787) and Augustin Daly’s Under the Gaslight . The advancement of popular drama from a comedy of manners to a melodrama produced differences between these two plays; namely, one can see a shift in the writing style, characters, and conflict in each. Royall Tyler’s approach to writing a play is very different from Augustin Daly’s. Tyler’s piece depicts what was popular in the post-revolutionary age, works that closely resembled those of British playwrights. Thus, The Contrast , a comedy of manners, is a satire. The play mocks the ways in which people court and marry. For example, while Maria wants to marry for true love, Charlotte would rather choose a rich husband; Dimple wants Letitia’s money, but Charlotte’s beauty. By creating these scenarios, Tyler attempts to make fun of all people in his society. To accomplish his purpose, Tyler uses vast amounts of witty dialogue. The characters’ verbal exchanges carry the plot of the story along with them; thus, setting, props, and stage directions take a backseat to conversation. In contrast, the melodrama, from the French for “music-drama,” is based around its thick plot. The characters are merely players as scenes
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Hatcher 2 develop around them. In Under the Gaslight , Augustin Daly uses dialogue and stage directions along with elaborate setting descriptions at the beginning of each act. These instructions provide a clear idea for how the stage should be set up. Thus, Daly’s work is meant to be performed in front of an audience, rather than read as a book like The Contrast . Part of the reason for the difference in presentation can be credited to the origins of each play. Royall Tyler modeled The Contrast from Englishman Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s School for Scandal , which was written ten years previous than Tyler’s work. This old-fashioned, Puritan play was not meant to be performed; seen as entertainment, performance drama was considered entertainment rather than art. However, the melodrama, which originated in France, is much more liberal in style.
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