This Revision Bite covers the various elements of drama used in drama exploration.
You'll need to show your use of some of these elements in your devised practical performance and discuss how they were used in your devised performance evaluation.
The form of a drama is the way that the story is told, the way the characters play their parts, and/or the way the themes are explored.
There are various dramatic forms, for example:
You'll need to choose the best way to communicate your drama.
The use of climax and anti-climax (the building and releasing of tension) in a drama is crucial, as it creates a sense of expectation in the audience. We can become incredibly tense as we wait to see what's going to happen in a play, and then we're relieved when things turn out well. It all adds to an interesting experience. For example, imagine you are watching a play and at a particularly dramatic moment towards the end of the play, a character who has been angry and depressed picks up a knife and looks at it intensely. This is the climax of the scene because the audience automatically thinks something terrible is going to happen. Then the character walks over to the table, places the knife carefully on the table, takes out his phone, rings a number and says these words: ”I've made a decision.....” The tension releases and we sigh with relief - this is the anti-climax because we understand that somehow the character is going to try and sort his life and situation out. It's up to the director [director: The person who supervises the drama and instructs actors ] of a drama to create the climax and anti-climax to make sure this happens.
The use of contrast in drama productions - eg 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 doesn't usually hold our interest, but most can be brought to life with the use of contrasting sights and sounds. An example of such contrast could be in a courtroom drama. At first there's the hustle and bustle of bringing in the prisoner, with everyone scurrying around trying to see and hear the judge's pronouncement. Then there's the sound of the gavel banging on his desk - and the resulting quiet before he pronounces the sentence. The audience can't fail to be interested!
The way an actor plays a role, using his/her acting skills to create a character in a drama, is known as characterisation [characterisation: To portray a role using voice and physical skills ].
Think about how we describe someone. Of course everyone looks a bit different, but a person's character can be shown in many ways, and this is where the actor's skill comes in. You can show a character in the way they walk and move (body language [body language: The non-verbal way in which a person communicates their physical and mental state through using facial expressions, gesture and posture ]), in the way they speak (vocal qualities) and in their reaction to events in the drama.
When creating a character we may use techniques such as hot-seating [hot-seating: To question an individual while they remain in character ] to develop the role, but we also need to think about these other aspects of presenting the character so they can 'come alive' within the drama.
There's a range of dramatic conventions (techniques) that have been used to create dramatic effects in plays and spectacles for centuries. Among these are:
Dramas are produced to a great extent through the use of symbols - or representations - standing in for real things. Many of the following can be understood as symbols.