GCSE Drama Terminology

  • Created by: Mel
  • Created on: 26-05-12 14:34

Styles of Drama

  • Naturalistic: The performance is as close to real life as possible.
  • Non-naturalistic: The performance is more theatrical and tells the story using a variety of techniques such as flashbacks; direct address to the audience; multiple role-play.
  • Physical Theatre: This means the performance is literally more physical. To tell the story the performers focus on their bodies. E.g. Mask work, creating a forest using the bodies of the performers, Mime…
  • Theatre in Education (TIE): A play that is created to teach a particular lesson. Often toured round schools and to young people. Often followed by a workshop or discussion about the topic.

Genres of Drama

  • Comedy: The story shown is funny and ends happily. There are many types of comedy.
  • Slapstick: Physical comedy that centers around accidents, mock fights and humiliation
  • Tragedy: The story shown is sad and usually involves the death or downfall of its main character(s).
  • Gritty Realism: About reality, usually working class, poor people.
  • Historical Drama: Set in a particular historical period
  • Docudrama: Looking like a documentary with reconstructions (like‘Crimewatch’)
  • Soap: Follows the format of television soap; long interrelated storylines; prologue at the beginning; follows the fortunes of the characters that live/work in a particular place.

Getting the Message Across

  • Target Audience: The sort of people the play is aimed at
  • Message: What the play intends the audience to have learned or to think about.
  • Themes: The general ideas that the play looks at. Ways of Telling the story
  • Episodic: A play is episodic when it shows particular events (episodes) that happen in the course of a long period of time, not necessarily in the order that they happen. E.g. Blood Brothers shows the key events that happen to a pair of twins from the moment they are born to the moment they die
  • Linear Narrative: A play has a linear narrative when the story is told in the order that events happen. Each scene normally links from the last one and the story is over a relatively short period of time.
  • Framing Device: A scene that goes at the beginning and end to help the audience get into the theme of the play.
  • Holding Scene: a scene that literally holds the rest of the play together. It is the most important scene in the play without which the rest would not make sense.
  • Flashback/ forward: The scene shows an event that happens earlier in the story or later in the story.
  • Split Scene: Two connected scenes going on at the same time. Uses a freezing devise to shift the focus of attention between them. Can be useful to show two points of view about the same event in the story.
  • Narration: Telling the story directly to the audience either from within a character (narration from within) or in the role of a narrator.
  • Monologue: A character has a fairly long speech that gives the audience a lot more


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