Elements of Drama:
Generally, drama is a work of literature written to be performed on a stage by actors in which they take the role of characters, perform the indicated action, and utter the written dialogue. According to Jacobs (2001), drama is the art of representing the pleasure of others, events that happened or that we imagine happening. Drama is associated with theatre. The primary ingredients of drama are plot, characters action, dialogue, setting and audience. These are briefly described below.
Plot refers to the interconnected system of events. The events and actions constitute the plot of dramatic work. According to Abrams, the plot in a dramatic work is constituted by its events and actions, as there are rendered and ordered towards achieving particular artistic and emotional effects.
The plot indicates what happens rather than what it means. It is usually structured with acts and sense, and the action and movement in a play beings from the initial entanglement, through rising action, climax and falling action to resolution.
Characters are represented by actions. Abrams (1993) defines characters as “the persons presented in a dramatic or narrative work, who are interpreted by the reader as being endowed with particular moral, intellectual, and emotional qualities that are expressed in what they say-the dialogue-and by what they do-the action. Hence, characters are the people who give life to the plot of the play. Each character has a distinct personality, age, appearance, belief, socio-economic background and language in the play. A character may be major or minor, static or dynamic.
Dialogue is thought of the characters. It is the utterance of characters in any kind of narrative story or play. Dialogue is core to drama, for it is the dialogue delivered by characters that moves the plot and action along, provides exposition, and defines the distinct characters. The dialogue spoken by a particular character reflects his/her socio-cultural background place of origin, temperament, attitudes to other characters, and so on.
Setting is represented by scenery, music, and costume. The setting refers to the time and space where the action of a dramatic work takes place. Abrams (1993) defines the setting of a dramatic work as “the general locale, historical time and social circumstances in which its action occurs”.
The conflict stands for the opposition between or among characters in a play that shapes the action of the plot. According to Cuddon (1992), the conflict is “the tension between characters, or the actual opposition of characters”. In simple words, the conflict is a struggle between opposing forces in a play, usually resolved by the end of the work. It can be internal or external. The conflict can take place between characters and their psychology, between characters and their circumstances or between characters and their society.
The plot has been called the body of a play and the theme has been called its soul. Jacobs (2001) writes, “the theme of a play is its message, its central concern”. It refers to what the play means as opposed to what happens (plot). It refers to the main ideal thought with in the play. The theme is the main lesson to be learned from the play.