Drama is written to be performed in front of an audience. Unlike the other genres, drama involves the human element of the contribution of the actors and the director. They are intermediaries between the author and the public, and they can determine its success or otherwise.
This makes drama similar to music, while poetry and fiction are similar to the figurative arts: a novel or a poem is read directly by the public, in the same way as a picture, a statue or a building is there for people to look at for as long as often they like. The work is till there, unchanged. But a play, like a piece of music, needs an interpreter who can act as the intermediary between the author and the public, and what is more, the interpretation are never the same.
Structure of a play
Traditionally, a play is based on a story, and the way of the story is organized and presented to the audience by the plot. The plot involves not only the sequences of events, but the way events relate to each other, in terms of cause and effect.
Character revelation, climax or crisis, and suspence are vital to make a plot entertaining, in the same way as the various strands of narrative must be tied up to give the play a proper ending.
A play is usually divided into acts and acts are divided into scenes. The characters are imaginary persons played and interpreted by actors.
Character creation is one of the main elements of a play, and one of the factors which determines success. Round characters have the complexities and the behaviour of real people; stock characters, instead, are built around one single idea or quality, and never change in the course of the play. They usually represent human types, like the impertinent servant girl, the dandy, the villain, the jealous husband and so on.
The main character is the protagonist. Sometimes antagonist is opposed to the protagonist. In the Elizabethan theatre the antagonist is often the villain, or a character who is an expression of evil, like Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello