Reading a Play
In many parts of the country, students rarely if ever see plays other than school or other
amateur productions, and the instructor may encounter some resistance to the whole idea
of studying drama. But all students are steeped in film and television drama, and it may
be useful to point out that such drama begins with playscripts. One might reason some-
what like this. Movies and television, it’s true, give plays hard competition in our society,
and a camera does have advantages. In moments, film can present whole panoramas and
can show details in close-up that theaters (with their cumbersome sets and machinery)
cannot duplicate. Movies used to be called “photoplays,” but the name implies an unnec-
essary limitation, for there is no point in confining the camera to recording the contents of
a picture-frame stage. But a play—whether staged in a proscenium theater or in a parking
lot—has its own distinct advantages. It is a medium that makes possible things a camera
cannot do. Unlike movies and television, a play gives us living actors, and it involves
living audiences who supply it with their presences (and who can move one another to
laughter or to tears). Compared, say, to the laughter of live spectators at a comedy, the
“canned” laughter often dubbed into television programs is a weak attempt to persuade
television viewers that they are not alone.
Susan Glaspell
, page 1199
The recent comeback of
may be due, we think, not only to Glaspell’s pioneering
feminist views but also to its being such a gripping, tightly structured play. Whether or not
you have much time to spend on the elements of a play, we think you will find
worth teaching; students respond to it.
Topic for writing or discussion: What common theme or themes do you find in both
(A conflict between the law and a woman’s personal duty.)
The Provincetown Players,...
  • Conventions Of Drama
    and “A Doll’s House”. The early origins of drama came from the Greek. Drama in Greece,450BC was not readily available to the society. Plays...
  • Ancient Greek Drama
    in any case, received a thorough education. His plays began to be performed in the Attic drama festivals in 454 BC, but it was not until 442 BC that he won first...
  • a Streetcar Named Desire: Psychological Drama
    Tennessee Williams is known for his powerfully written psychological dramas. Most of his works are set in the southern United States and they usually portray...
  • Television Drama
    an idea on how successful the show will be. Dawson's Creek is a relatively new TV drama aimed at teenagers and the issues they face and have to deal with in society...
  • a Doll House: English Analysis Of Drama
    within the plot. A prominent theme within this drama  is the deterioration of the male, who ... , is considered a  landmark in drama for its portrayal of realistic...