HOME
        TheInfoList






A play is a work of drama, usually consisting mostly of dialogue between characters and intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. The writer of a play is a playwright.

Plays are performed at a variety of levels, from London's West End and Broadway in New York City – which are the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world – to regional theatre, to community theatre, as well as university or school productions. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference as to whether their plays were performed or read. The term "play" can refer to both the written texts of playwrights and to their complete theatrical performance.[1]

Ballad opera, a popular theatre style at the time, was the first style of musical to be performed in the American colonies. The first musical of American origin was premiered in Philadelphia in 1767, and was called “The Disappointment”, however, this play never made it to production.

Modern Western musical theatre emerged in the Victorian era, with many structural elements established by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and those of Harrigan and Hart in America. Around the 1920s, theatre styles were beginning to be defined more clearly. For musical theatre, this meant that composers gained the right to create every song in the play, and these new plays were held to more specific conventions, such as thirty-two-bar songs. When the Great Depression came, many people left Broadway for Hollywood, and the atmosphere of Broadway musicals changed significantly. A similar situation occurred during the 1960s, when composers were scarce and musicals lacked vibrancy and entertainment value.

By the 1990s, there were very few original Broadway musicals, as many were recreations of movies or novels.

Musical productions have songs to help explain the story and move the ideas of the play along. They are usually accompanied by dancing. Musicals can be very elaborate in settings and actor performances. Examples of musical productions include Wicked and Fiddler on the Roof.

Theatre of Cruelty

This theatre style originated in the 1940s when Antonin Artaud hypothesized about the effects of expressing through the body as opposed to “by socially conditioned thought.” In 1946, he wrote a preface to his works in which he explained how he came to write what and the way he did.

Above all, Artaud did not trust language as a means of communication. Plays within the genre of theatre of cruelty are abstract in convention and content. Artaud wanted his plays to have an effect and accomplish something. His intention was to symbolise the subconscious through bodily performances, as he did not believe language could be effective. Artaud considered his plays to be an enactment rather than a re-enactment, which meant he believed his actors were in reality, rather than re-enacting reality.

His plays dealt with heavy issues such as patients in psych wards, and Nazi Germany. Through these performances, he wanted to “make the causes of suffe

Ballad opera, a popular theatre style at the time, was the first style of musical to be performed in the American colonies. The first musical of American origin was premiered in Philadelphia in 1767, and was called “The Disappointment”, however, this play never made it to production.

Modern Western musical theatre emerged in the Victorian era, with many structural elements established by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and those of Harrigan and Hart in America. Around the 1920s, theatre styles were beginning to be defined more clearly. For music

Modern Western musical theatre emerged in the Victorian era, with many structural elements established by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and those of Harrigan and Hart in America. Around the 1920s, theatre styles were beginning to be defined more clearly. For musical theatre, this meant that composers gained the right to create every song in the play, and these new plays were held to more specific conventions, such as thirty-two-bar songs. When the Great Depression came, many people left Broadway for Hollywood, and the atmosphere of Broadway musicals changed significantly. A similar situation occurred during the 1960s, when composers were scarce and musicals lacked vibrancy and entertainment value.

By the 1990s, there were very few original Broadway musicals, as many were recreations of movies or novels.

Musical productions have songs to help explain the story and move the ideas of the play along. They are usually accompanied by dancing. Musicals can be very elaborate in settings and actor performances. Examples of musical productions include Wicked and Fiddler on the Roof.

This theatre style originated in the 1940s when Antonin Artaud hypothesized about the effects of expressing through the body as opposed to “by socially conditioned thought.” In 1946, he wrote a preface to his works in which he explained how he came to write what and the way he did.

Above all, Artaud did not trust language as a means of communication. Plays within the genre of theatre of cruelty are abstract in convention and content. Artaud wanted his plays to have an effect and accomplish something. His intention was to symbolise the subconscious through bodily performances, as he did not believe languag

Above all, Artaud did not trust language as a means of communication. Plays within the genre of theatre of cruelty are abstract in convention and content. Artaud wanted his plays to have an effect and accomplish something. His intention was to symbolise the subconscious through bodily performances, as he did not believe language could be effective. Artaud considered his plays to be an enactment rather than a re-enactment, which meant he believed his actors were in reality, rather than re-enacting reality.

His plays dealt with heavy issues such as patients in psych wards, and Nazi Germany. Through these performances, he wanted to “make the causes of suffering audible”, however, audiences originally reacted poorly, as they were so taken aback by what they saw. Much of his work was banned in France at the time.

Artaud did not believe that conventional theatre of the time would allow the audience to have a cathartic experience and help heal the wounds of World War II. For this reason, he moved towards radio-based theatre, in which the audience could use their imagination to connect the words they were hearing to their body. This made his work much more personal and individualized, which he believed would increase the effectiveness of portraying suffering.[8]

Theatre of the Absurd: This genre generally includes metaphysical representations of existential qualms and questions. Theatre of the absurd denies rationality, and embraces the inevitability of falling into the abyss of the human condition. Instead of discussing these issues, however, theatre of the absurd is a demonstration of them. This leaves the audience to discuss and question the content of the play for themselves.

One of the main aspects of theatre of the absurd is the physical contradiction to language. Oftentimes, the dialogue between characters will directly oppose their actions.

Famous playwrights within this genre include Beckett, Sartre, Ionesco, Adamov, and Genet.[9]

One of the main aspects of theatre of the absurd is the physical contradiction to language. Oftentimes, the dialogue between characters will directly oppose their actions.

Famous playwrights within this genre include Beckett, Sartre, Ionesco, Adamov, and Genet.[9]

The term "play" can be either a general term, or more specifically refer to a non-musical play. Sometimes the term "straight play" is used in contrast to "musical", which refers to a play based on music, dance, and songs sung by the play's characters. For a short play, the term "playlet" is sometimes used.

The term "script" refers to the written text of the play. After the front matter, such as title and author, it conventionally begins with a dramatis personae: a list p

The term "script" refers to the written text of the play. After the front matter, such as title and author, it conventionally begins with a dramatis personae: a list presenting each of the main characters of the play by name, followed by a brief characterization (e.g., "Stephano, a drunken Butler".)

For a musical play (opera, light opera, or musical) the term "libretto" is commonly used, instead of "script".

A play is usually divided into acts, similar to what chapters are in a novel. A short play may consist of only a single act, and then is called a "one-acter". Acts are subdivided into scenes. Acts are numbered, and so are scenes; the scene numbering starts again at 1 for each next act, so Act 4, Scene 3 may be followed by Act 5, Scene 1. Each scene is set at one specified location, indicated in the script at the start of the scene (e.g., "Scene 1. Before the cell of Prospero."). Changing locations usually requires changing the scenery, which takes time – even if merely a painted backdrop – and can only be done between scenes.

Next to the text to be spoken by the actors, a script contains "stage directions" (not to be confused with the use of that term in blocking, the staging of actors with specified movements across the stage). The most common type is for the entering and exiting of actors, e.g. "[Exeunt Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo.]" (Exeunt is the Latin plural of exit, meaning "[they] leave".) Other stage directions may indicate the manner of delivery of the text, like "[Aside]" or "[Sings]", or indicate sounds to be produced off-stage, like "[Thunder]".