ELEMENTS OF DRAMA
The six elements listed below follow the format suggested by Aristotle's Poetics in Greece around 300 B.C. While these elements are ranked by Aristotle in this order according to importance, it may be noted that many modern plays have little plot and much spectacle. In the end, however, the most important element for all theatre is telling the story.
1. PLOT - (a map, a chart) The overall structure of a play. This consists of a beginning a middle, and an end. The beginning establishes given circumstances, has the inciting incident and progresses to the middle, which has the rising action and conflict, leading to a climax. The end, also called the denouement, establishes new circumstances which the conflicts (now resolved) have brought about.
2. CHARACTER - (an engraving instrument) The participants in the play. Characterization is developed in three levels: PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, and PSYCHOLOGICAL.
3. THOUGHT - (to seem like something else) The themes, concepts and ideas in the play. Generally speaking, a play needs to be UNIVERSAL in thought (which makes it appeal to the basic emotions and ideas of the majority) and yet needs to be INDIVIDUAL, or as others would say, personal, unique or original.
4. DIALOGUE - (between words or thoughts) The exchange of ideas by characters in a play. Dialogue gives information, reveals character, directs play and audience attention, reveals play themes, controls tempo and rhythm.
5. MUSIC - (the art of sound and tone) The sound of a play. Most performers only consider music as sound provided by musical instruments, yet the sound provided by the human voice is very critical to a play's success. Music in Theatre is the sound of the human voice, sound effects, and sound provided by instruments for mood or rhythm.
6. SPECTACLE - (to see) The visual elements of a production. Spectacle gives information about locale, time and style of a production. Spectacle aids characterization. Spectacle establishes the mood of a play.