Drama Vocabulary

KS3 Glossary of Drama Vocabulary

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Acting Area

Where an actor may move in full view of the audience

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Acting Style

A particular manner of acting which reflects cultural and historical influences

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Action

The development of the plot in a play; the physical movement of the characters

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Analysis

How the elements of drama - literary, technical, and performance - are used

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Back projection

When you project images onto a screen from behind. Often used for projecting scenery or special effects

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Backdrop

A flat surface at the back of the acting area which sometimes has scenery painted on it

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Blackout

Turning all stage lights off at the same time

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Blocking

Everywhere an actor moves on stage (often written down in a script)

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Body language

Showing a character's emotions or feeling in the position of your body

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Character

A person in a drama performance or book

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Characterisation

How an actor uses body, voice, and thought to develop and portray (show) a character

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Characteristic

A quality typical of a person eg. kind, funny, nervous, bad tempered

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Choreography

The movement of actors and dancers to music in a play

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Climax

The highest point of tension in a play

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Comedy

A play with funny characters and events

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Concentration

The actor's focus, focusing on the work at hand, being in character, or being in the moment

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Conflict

When different ideas or interests happen in a performance that creates dramatic tension

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Contrast

The use of opposites, such as movement/stillness, sound/silence, and light/darkness

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Development

Progession of the plot ot conflict in a play

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Dialogue

Spoken conversation between two or more characters

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Eye contact

Meaning that is shown by either looking directly at something/a character or away from something/a character

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Facial expressions

Showing a character's emotions or feeling in your face

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Flashback

To go back in time to a previous event; a flash forward would move the action into the future

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Genre

A type of performance, story or piece of Art work. Drama is divided into many genres; comedy, tragedy, melodrama etc.

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Genre

A type of performance, story or piece of Art work. Drama is divided into many genres; comedy, tragedy, melodrama etc.

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Gesture

Any movement of the actor's head, shoulder, arm, hand, leg, or foot to show meaning or emotion

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Improvisation

The use of movement and speech to create a character in a particular situation; acting done without a script

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Inflection

Change in pitch or loudness of the voice

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Interaction

The action ot relationship between two or more characters

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Language

In drama, the particular manner of verbal expression, the diction or style of writing, or the speech or phrasing that suggests a class or profession or type of character

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Mime

Acting without words

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Mirroring

Copying the movement and/or expression or look of someone else exactly

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Monologue

A long speech made by one actor; a monologue may be delivered alone or in the presence of others

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Mood

The tone or feeling of the play, often engendered by the music, setting, or lighting

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Movement

Stage blocking or the movements of the actors onstage during performance; also refers to the action of the play as it moves from event to event

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Naturalism

A style of drama that attempts to represent real life on stage

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Pace

Rate of movement or speed of action

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Performance elements

Includes acting (eg. character motivation and analysis, empathy), speaking (breath control, vocal expression and inflection, projection, speaking style, diction), and non-verbal expression (gesture, body alignment, facial expression, character blocking, movement)

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Pitch

The particular level of a voice, instrument or tune

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Plot

The events of a play or arrangement of action, as opposed to the theme. See also Story line

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Plot development

The organisation or building of the action in a play

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Props

Short for properties; any article, except costume or scenery, used as part of a dramatic production; any moveable object that appears on stage during a performance. See also Hand props, Personal props

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Protagonist

The main character or hero in a play or other literary work

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Proxemics

The actual space between characters which conveys information about the circumstances

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Role

The character portrayed by an actor in a drama

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Role playing

Improvising movement and dialogue to put oneself in another's plave in a particular situation, often to examine the person(s) and/or situation(s) being improvised

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Scene

A small section or portion of a play

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Scenery

The theatrical equipment, such as curtains, flats, backdrops, or platforms, used in a dramatic production to communicate environment

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Set

The physical surroundings visible to the audience, in which the action of the play takes place

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Setting

When and where the action of a play takes place

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Sound

The effects and audience hears during a performance to communicate character, context, or environment

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Sound effects

Recorded: often abbreviated to FX. There are many sources for recorded sound effects, from compact discs. to downloading from internet. May form an obvious part of the action (train arriving at the station) or may be in the background throughout the scene (eg. bird chirping). Live: gunshots, door slams, and offstage voices (amongst many others) are most effective when done alive.

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Space

A defined area

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Space and levels

The position and height of an actor on stage. This can show relationships and status between characters and also their importance to the audience at that point in the action

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Special Effects

Visual or sound effects used to enhance a theatrical performance

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Storyline

The plot or plan of action

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Stylisation

The shaping of dramatic material, settings, or costumes in a deliberately nonrealistic manner

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Suspense

A feeling of uncertainty as to the outcome, used to build interest and excitement on the part of the audience

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Symbolism

The use of symbolic language, imagery, or colour to evoke emotions or ideas

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Tableau

A technique in creative drama in which actors create a frozen picture, as if the action were paused; plural is tableaux. Not to be confused with freeze frame, which is a term used in film and video production and which should not be used when discussing drama.

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Tempo

Relative speed or rate of movement in pace over time, eg. the speed at which the music for a dance should be played. Can be applied to dramatic contexts such as in 'tempo rhythm'

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Tension

The atmosphere created by unresolved, disquieting, or inharmonious situations that human beings feel compelled to address; the state of anxiety the audience feels because of a threat to a character in a play

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Text

The basis of dramatic activity and performance; a written script or an agreed upon structure and content for an improvisation

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Theatre-In-The-Round

An acting area or stage that may be viewed from all sides simultaneously

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Theme

The basic idea of a play; the idea, point of view, or perception that binds together a work of art

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Thrust

A stage that extends into the audience area, with seats on three sides of a peninsula-shaped acting space

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Timing

Includes setting cues for effects and lighting, synchronising two or more things that must happen simultaneously, and establishing the pace at which lines will be delivered or the play performed

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Tone

A quality in the voice which expresses the speaker's feelings or thoughts, often towards the person being spoken to

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Traverse

Form of staging where the audience is on either side of the acting area

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Turning point

The climax or high point of a story, when events can go either way

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Vocal expression

How an actor uses his or her voice to convey character

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Vocal projection

Directing the voice out of the body to be heard clearly at a distance

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Voice

The combination of vocal qualities an actor uses such as articulation, phrasing, and pronunciation

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Volume

How a performer adjusts their voice to be louder or quieter

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Wings

Offstage areas to the right and left of the acting/onstage area

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