Concepts of a Play


You are a part of a team of writers for a literary magazine, The Writer’s Club. The magazine’s focus is to analyze genres and themes in literature. Subscribers to this magazine vary from students, experts, instructors, and those enhancing their leisurely interests in literature. There are twelve issues in a year; three issues per genre/theme. The magazine pays tribute to each of the genres every three months, so every issue is concentrated.
Every month, the editor-in-chief puts together a mock-up of next month’s issue and coordinates teams to work on the different strategies for the upcoming issues. You have worked with the magazine for over a year and have received numerous recognitions along the way. In addition, you have had the opportunity to work with every genre and theme throughout the year.
You have been hand-picked by the senior editor to be the backbone of research for the upcoming year. You will be responsible for overseeing the planning and executing of the different phases that occur in creating the mock-ups. In spending time with the different functional groups, you realize that the magazine is gearing towards a “Back to Basics” theme in the upcoming year.
Your team is assigned the task of discussing a play and analyzing the play for an upcoming issue. You are currently putting together a presentation for the editor-in-chief showcasing the groups’ findings thus far. However, you decide to email the writers a list of discussion points.
Please address the following in your discussions:
• What are the important elements of drama?
• How do the characters and setting/staging of a play help develop the drama and theme?
• How do style and tone develop a play?
• What is the plot and structure of the play?


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The characters who take roles in a play constitute a very important element in drama. The ways in which the characters are treated by the playwright constitute the main task in the process of writing a play. Conventions relating to setting determine the manner in which the playwright portrays the characters. Characterization is another important element of every play. Characterization is about the ability of the writer to match the antagonist against the protagonist with a certain measure of vitality and complexity in order to clearly differentiate between failure and success.


Another important element is the stagecraft. The effects of the stage are felt partly because and partly in spite of its definite physical limitation(Gassner, 2001). The setting and action take place on stage. The stage should be designed in a manner that gives additional hints to those already provided in the play’s plot and setting.

Genres constitute an important element in drama. The main genres or categories of drama are comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy, and melodrama. Each of the genres can be subdivided further based on content and style.

The playwright uses characters to develop themes. The setting that is chosen determines the major themes that are explored as well as their impact on the audience. Style and tone are two very important aspects that determine the mood in drama. Different themes are explored through different styles and tones to bring about different moods. For example, comedies are written using a jovial style, wit and comical characters(Elam, 1980).

Plot refers to the sequence of dialogue among characters. Plays are divided into scenes. Many scenes make up an act. A work of drama contains several acts. Sometimes acts may be divided into different parts, for example, part one and part two. The organization of scenes acts, and parts determine the structure of a play.


Elam,K. 1980. The semiotics of theatre and drama, London: Routledge.

Gassner,J. 2001. Directions in Modern Theatre and Drama, New York: John Wiley.

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