Play (theatre)

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A play is a work of drama, usually consisting mostly of dialogue between characters and intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. Play (theatre)_sentence_0

The writer of a play is a playwright. Play (theatre)_sentence_1

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_2

There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference as to whether their plays were performed or read. Play (theatre)_sentence_3

The term "play" can refer to both the written texts of playwrights and to their complete theatrical performance. Play (theatre)_sentence_4

Comedy Play (theatre)_section_0

Main article: Comedy Play (theatre)_sentence_5

Comedies are plays which are designed to be humorous. Play (theatre)_sentence_6

Comedies are often filled with witty remarks, unusual characters, and strange circumstances. Play (theatre)_sentence_7

Certain comedies are geared toward different age groups. Play (theatre)_sentence_8

Comedies were one of the two original play types of Ancient Greece, along with tragedies. Play (theatre)_sentence_9

An example of a comedy would be William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, or for a more modern example the skits from Saturday Night Live. Play (theatre)_sentence_10

Farce Play (theatre)_section_1

Main article: Farce Play (theatre)_sentence_11

A generally nonsensical genre of play, farces are often acted and often involve humor. Play (theatre)_sentence_12

An example of a farce includes William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors, or Mark Twain's play Is He Dead? Play (theatre)_sentence_13 . Play (theatre)_sentence_14

Satirical Play (theatre)_section_2

Main article: Satire Play (theatre)_sentence_15

A satire play takes a comic look at current events, while at the same time attempting to make a political or social statement, for example pointing out corruption. Play (theatre)_sentence_16

An example of a satire would be Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Play (theatre)_sentence_17

Satire plays are generally one of the most popular forms of comedy, and often considered to be their own genre entirely. Play (theatre)_sentence_18

Restoration comedy Play (theatre)_section_3

Main article: Restoration comedy Play (theatre)_sentence_19

Restoration comedy is a genre that explored relationships between men and women, and was considered risqué in its time. Play (theatre)_sentence_20

Characters featured in restoration comedy included stereotypes of all kinds, and these same stereotypes were found in most plays of this genre, so much so that most plays were very similar in message and content. Play (theatre)_sentence_21

However, since restoration comedy dealt with unspoken aspects of relationships, it created a type of connection between audience and performance that was more informal and private. Play (theatre)_sentence_22

It is commonly agreed that restoration comedy has origins in Molière’s theories of comedy, but differs in intention and tone. Play (theatre)_sentence_23

The inconsistency between restoration comedy’s morals and the morals of the era is something that often arises during the study of this genre. Play (theatre)_sentence_24

This may give clues as to why, despite its original success, restoration comedy did not last long in the seventeenth century. Play (theatre)_sentence_25

However, in recent years, it has become a topic of interest for theatre theorists, who have been looking into theatre styles that have their own conventions of performance. Play (theatre)_sentence_26

Tragedy Play (theatre)_section_4

Main article: Tragedy Play (theatre)_sentence_27

These plays contain darker themes such as death and disaster. Play (theatre)_sentence_28

Often the protagonist of the play has a tragic flaw, a trait which leads to their downfall. Play (theatre)_sentence_29

Tragic plays convey all emotions and have very dramatic conflicts. Play (theatre)_sentence_30

Tragedy was one of the two original play types of Ancient Greece. Play (theatre)_sentence_31

Some examples of tragedies include William Shakespeare's Hamlet, and also John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi. Play (theatre)_sentence_32

Historical Play (theatre)_section_5

Main article: History (theatrical genre) Play (theatre)_sentence_33

These plays focus on actual historical events. Play (theatre)_sentence_34

They can be tragedies or comedies, but are often neither of these. Play (theatre)_sentence_35

History as a separate genre was popularized by William Shakespeare. Play (theatre)_sentence_36

Examples of historical plays include Friedrich Schiller's Demetrius and Shakespeare's King John. Play (theatre)_sentence_37

Musical theatre Play (theatre)_section_6

Main article: Musical theatre Play (theatre)_sentence_38

Ballad opera, a popular theatre style at the time, was the first style of musical to be performed in the American colonies. Play (theatre)_sentence_39

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_40

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_41

Around the 1920s, theatre styles were beginning to be defined more clearly. Play (theatre)_sentence_42

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_43

When the Great Depression came, many people left Broadway for Hollywood, and the atmosphere of Broadway musicals changed significantly. Play (theatre)_sentence_44

A similar situation occurred during the 1960s, when composers were scarce and musicals lacked vibrancy and entertainment value. Play (theatre)_sentence_45

By the 1990s, there were very few original Broadway musicals, as many were recreations of movies or novels. Play (theatre)_sentence_46

Musical productions have songs to help explain the story and move the ideas of the play along. Play (theatre)_sentence_47

They are usually accompanied by dancing. Play (theatre)_sentence_48

Musicals can be very elaborate in settings and actor performances. Play (theatre)_sentence_49

Examples of musical productions include Wicked and Fiddler on the Roof. Play (theatre)_sentence_50

Theatre of Cruelty Play (theatre)_section_7

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_51

Above all, Artaud did not trust language as a means of communication. Play (theatre)_sentence_52

Plays within the genre of theatre of cruelty are abstract in convention and content. Play (theatre)_sentence_53

Artaud wanted his plays to have an effect and accomplish something. Play (theatre)_sentence_54

His intention was to symbolise the subconscious through bodily performances, as he did not believe language could be effective. Play (theatre)_sentence_55

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_56

His plays dealt with heavy issues such as patients in psych wards, and Nazi Germany. Play (theatre)_sentence_57

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_58

Much of his work was banned in France at the time. Play (theatre)_sentence_59

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_60

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_61

This made his work much more personal and individualized, which he believed would increase the effectiveness of portraying suffering. Play (theatre)_sentence_62

Theatre of the Absurd Play (theatre)_section_8

Theatre of the Absurd: This genre generally includes metaphysical representations of existential qualms and questions. Play (theatre)_sentence_63

Theatre of the absurd denies rationality, and embraces the inevitability of falling into the abyss of the human condition. Play (theatre)_sentence_64

Instead of discussing these issues, however, theatre of the absurd is a demonstration of them. Play (theatre)_sentence_65

This leaves the audience to discuss and question the content of the play for themselves. Play (theatre)_sentence_66

One of the main aspects of theatre of the absurd is the physical contradiction to language. Play (theatre)_sentence_67

Oftentimes, the dialogue between characters will directly oppose their actions. Play (theatre)_sentence_68

Famous playwrights within this genre include Beckett, Sartre, Ionesco, Adamov, and Genet. Play (theatre)_sentence_69

Terminology Play (theatre)_section_9

The term "play" can be either a general term, or more specifically refer to a non-musical play. Play (theatre)_sentence_70

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_71

For a short play, the term "playlet" is sometimes used. Play (theatre)_sentence_72

The term "script" refers to the written text of the play. Play (theatre)_sentence_73

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".) Play (theatre)_sentence_74

For a musical play (opera, light opera, or musical) the term "libretto" is commonly used, instead of "script". Play (theatre)_sentence_75

A play is usually divided into acts, similar to what chapters are in a novel. Play (theatre)_sentence_76

A short play may consist of only a single act, and then is called a "one-acter". Play (theatre)_sentence_77

Acts are subdivided into scenes. Play (theatre)_sentence_78

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. Play (theatre)_sentence_79

Each scene is set at one specified location, indicated in the script at the start of the scene (e.g., "Scene 1. Play (theatre)_sentence_80

Before the cell of Prospero."). Play (theatre)_sentence_81

Changing locations usually requires changing the scenery, which takes time – even if merely a painted backdrop – and can only be done between scenes. Play (theatre)_sentence_82

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). Play (theatre)_sentence_83

The most common type is for the entering and exiting of actors, e.g. "[Exeunt Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo.]" Play (theatre)_sentence_84

( is the Latin plural of exit, meaning "[they] leave".) Play (theatre)_sentence_85

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]". Play (theatre)_sentence_86

See also Play (theatre)_section_10

Play (theatre)_unordered_list_0

Lists Play (theatre)_section_11

Play (theatre)_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play (theatre).