ELEMENTS OF DRAMA
Drama is a display of emotions, a representation of relationships and the portrayal of the different phases of human life. It sketches different personalities and represents a wide variety of emotions through the different characters it portrays. Which of its components are identified as the elements of drama? Let us see.
Aristotle, a philosopher who wrote on a variety of subjects like poetry, theater, music, rhetoric and handled subjects like biology, physics, logic and politics, writes that there are six elements of drama, namely the plot, theme, character, dialog, music and the visual element. Let us look at each of them.
Theme: The theme of a drama refers to the central idea of the play. It can either be clearly stated through dialog or action or can be inferred after watching the entire performance.
Plot: The order of events occurring in a play is referred to as the plot of the drama. It is the basic storyline that is narrated through a play. The entertainment one derives from a play depends largely on the sequence of events that occur in the story. The logical connection between the events and the characters, which enact the story form an integral part of the plot of drama.
Characters: The characters that form a part of the story are interwoven with the plot of the drama. Each character in a play has a personality of its own and has a distinct set of principles and beliefs. Actors who play various roles in a drama have the very important responsibility of bringing the characters to life.
Dialog: The story of any play is taken forward by means of the dialog. The story is narrated to the audiences through the dialog written by the playwright. The success of a drama depends hugely on the contents of the dialog and the quality of dialog delivery by the actors of the play.
Music: This element of drama comprises the melody in the use of sounds and rhythm in dialogs as well as melodious compositions, which form a part of many plays. The background score, the songs and the sound effects that are used in a play make up the musical element of drama. Music composers and lyricists sit together to create music that can go well with the theme of the play. If the scenes of a play are accompanied by well-suited pieces of music, they become more effective on the audiences. Hence, music forms a very important element of drama.
Visual Element: While the dialog and music constitute the audible aspect of drama, the visual element deals with the scenes, costumes and special effects used in it. The visual element of drama, also known as the spectacle, renders a visual appeal to it. The costumes worn by the artists must suit the characters they are playing. Besides, it is important for the scenes to be dramatic enough to hold the audiences to their seats. The special effects used in a play add to the visual appeal. Thus, the spectacle forms an essential component of drama.
Apart from these elements as given by Aristotle, the structure of the story, a clever use of symbolism and contrast and stagecraft form some of the other important elements of drama.
The structure of the story comprises the way in which the story is put forth to the audience. The way in which the characters play their roles and the framework of the story constitute the drama structure. Direction is an essential constituent of a play. A well-directed story can help in fetching greater mass appeal. Stagecraft plays a vital role in increasing the visual appeal of a drama. The use and organization of different stage properties and the stage setup constitute the stagecraft, which is an essential component of a play.
The use of symbols implies the use of indirect suggestions in a drama. Logically used symbols help in making a scene more effective. The use of contrast is about using stillness followed by activity or silence followed by noise. It can also mean the use of contrasting colors to add to the visual appeal. It can mean the clever use of contrasting scenes following each other that enhance the dramatic element of a play.
An enthusiastic audience is perhaps one of the very essential elements of drama. A play needs a live and lively audience who can constructively criticize performances and generously appreciate quality work.