The Elements of Drama

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Cambridge University Press, 1963 - Drama - 306 pages
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This is an introduction to the drama, singling out and discussing its various elements, with detailed and generous quotation from masterpieces. Styan emphasizes that plays are meant to be judged in performance, not in the study, and that the play is something created by a co-operation of author, actor, producer and audience. The actor is doing something for the author's words; he is making the play work; and so is the spectator as he responds to the art of the actor, the producer and the playwright. It is a unique relationship, and the play in performance must be judged by 'theatrical' standards as well as literary ones. Styan begins with the elements of a dramatic text and the way they are built together. For every aspect - words, movement, tempo - and for larger considerations, such as verse-drama, convention, 'character', and audience-participation, Styan provides close analyses of excerpts from plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Wilde, Shaw, Strindberg, Pirandello, Synge, Anouilh, Sartre, Eliot and others. These detailed expositions give an insight into the aims and techniques of the particular playwrights as well as into the general themes. This is an ideal introduction to the art of the theatre for the general reader and the student of literature.
 

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Contents

THE DRAMATIC SCORE
11
DRAMATIC VERSE IS MORE THAN DIALOGUE IN VERSE
27
MAKING MEANINGS IN THE THEATRE
48
SHIFTING IMPRESSIONS
64
THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE WORDS ON THE STAGE
86
ORCHESTRATION
121
TEMPO AND MEANING
141
MANIPULATING THE CHARACTERS
163
VALUES
231
PASSING JUDGMENT
256
PLAYGOING AS AN ART
285
A SHORT READING LIST
290
REFERENCES
292
INDEX OF PLAYWRIGHTS AND PLAYS
299
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
302
INDEX OF CRITICS AND COMMENTATORS
306

BREAKING THE CONTINUITY
188
THE MEANING OF THE PLAY AS A WHOLE
205

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