This means that actors who perform in his plays have

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This means that actors who perform in his plays have to read the script very carefully for clues about how to portray their characters. Stage directions: These are used to set the scene, to suggest what a character is doing while he or she is on stage or talking, or to indicate sounds or events that occur during the play. These instructions also tell the actors how to move on the stage. For example, “downstage” means moving closer to the audience, while “upstage” means moving to the rear of the stage. Often, actions that are not essential to the meaning of the plot are not included in the stage directions and it is left to the actors or director to invent them, based on their understanding of the characters. Dialogue: These are the lines that the characters speak, and are the main vehicle of expression in the play. Dialogue has to be written to fit the character and match the time and place of the play’s setting. For example, a modern play will use modern language, and a play set in a particular region may use the dialect of that region, while a historical play will usually use the language that fits the time period. Sometimes, playwrights will use language that does not seem to fit the setting, in order to make a specific impact, for example, by using modern language in a play set in an earlier time period.
Lesson 17, page 4 English ENG2D-B Copyright © 2009 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. All rights reserved. Tragedy: A tragedy is a serious play that usually ends in the main character’s death. A tragic character is one who is destroyed through a flaw in his or her personality, or through opposing a force greater than him or herself, such as fate. The more sympathy the audience feels for the character as he or she faces this conflict, the more they respond to the tragedy of the play. Comedy: A comedy is an amusing, humorous play that usually ends happily for the characters. It is interesting to consider that the same kinds of conflicts can lead to a comedy or a tragedy, depending on the way the playwright deals with the material. For example, in Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, lovers are forbidden to marry, but through the strange and silly events of one night, everything turns out well, and all of the main characters end up getting married. In the play, Romeo and Juliet , the lovers face the same obstacle of being forbidden to marry (because their families are sworn enemies), but this play ends in tragedy. Theme: Usually, a playwright uses a play to explore and express a larger message or view of the world, which is called a theme. Here is an example of the beginning of a simple script, demonstrating how some of these elements are presented in script form. The Stolen Purse Characters: Mrs. Brown the owner of the purse, a rather bossy woman Mr. Brown her husband, a man who likes to avoid trouble Angeline the waitress Franco the restaurant manager Giles the purse snatcher who is very well- dressed in a suit Tony his accomplice, also dressed in a suit TIME: The present. Saturday lunchtime

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