Essential Skills/Concepts Related to RL 6.10
Drama is one of those neat words that can be used in several different ways. It can be used to describe a certain type of play or movie where lots of stuff happens.
The word drama comes from a Greek word that means “action”. When there is action, something happens! For example, someone breaks their leg, two people get married or a baby is born. This action creates tension and excitement over what will happen next and help to make the story (and life!) dramatic or full of drama.
Drama is intended to reflect human behavior and action in the midst of crisis and everyday life. Several genres exist within drama, each with their own storytelling methods, character types and dramatic approach. There are four main genres of drama: the tragedy, comedy, melodrama and tragicomedy. Understanding the characteristics of these genres creates a basic understanding of the influences and types of theater being produced today.
The tragedy deals with a serious action in which the consequences are of great magnitude to the characters involved. This genre tells the story through action instead of through narrative. It often deals with profound problems that are universal to the human experience. The tragic hero, or protagonist, of the drama often has one tragic flaw that causes his undoing, usually hubris, or too much pride. The protagonist realizes the severity of the flaw too late, which leads to inevitable downfall. A tragedy's action is meant to fill the audience with fear and pity while the action takes place; however, at the conclusion of the action the audience is meant to leave the theater uplifted and enlightened about the drama's unfolded events.
Comedy represents the sense of renewal and rebirth, which is why this genre traditionally ends in a wedding and the expectation of a future generation. The pain and pity projected by a tragedy is replaced with absurdity and mass intellect in comedy. Characters behave in comic and absurd ways, serving as a mirror for society that encourages corrective behaviors. Romantic comedies point out the absurdities people perform when in love, which usually lead to unsuspecting unions. Dark comedies, on the other hand, leave the audience with a grim truth that's presented in humorous, playful seriousness.
In a melodrama the tragedy or problem is caused by external forces outside of the protagonist's control. It sets itself apart from tragedy because the protagonist does not take responsibility for the action, nor does she feel guilty. In fact, the protagonist is often the victim of circumstance. The melodrama has clearly distinguished good and evil characters. These plays end with a strict moral judgment that rewards the good and punishes evil in a fitting way.
The tragicomedy attempts to portray characters and life in the most realistic way. Action, characters and plot are not absolute, but nonjudgmental. A character changes his mind and acts out of character, and the plot ends unpredictably. Tragicomedies are meant to show complex dynamics of human relationships and that society is in a constantly changing flux. As the name suggests, these plays present a thorough mix of tragedy and comedy.
Example of Drama/Play
A HELPING HAND—OR TEETH!
Based on a story by Aesop
SCENE 1 [forest area; enter Mouse]
MOUSE: I’m famished! I’ll just look for some tasty seeds to eat. [exit]
LION: [enter] Umm! That was a gr-r-reat breakfast! [yawn] But now I’m exhausted. I think I’ll take a nap. [lies down and snores softly]
Elements of Dramas/Plays include the following:
· Stage Directions
· Multiple Characters
· Stage Performance
Essential Skills/Concepts Related to RI 6.10
A type of prose that employs the literary techniques usually associated with fiction or poetry to report on persons, places, and events in the real world.
The genre of literary nonfiction (also known as creative nonfiction) is broad enough to include travel writing, nature writing, science writing, sports writing, biography, autobiography, memoir, the interview, and both the familiar and personal essay.
Practical Nonfiction vs. Literary Nonfiction
"Practical nonfiction is designed to communicate information in circumstances where the quality of the writing is not considered as important as the content. Practical nonfiction appears mainly in popular magazines, newspaper Sunday supplements, feature articles, and in self-help and how-to books. . . .
"Literary nonfiction puts emphasis on the precise and skilled use of words and tone, and the assumption that the reader is as intelligent as the writer. While information is included, insight about that information, presented with some originality, may predominate. Sometimes the subject of literary nonfiction may not at the onset be of great interest to the reader, but the character of the writing may lure the reader into that subject.
"Literary nonfiction appears in books, in some general magazines such as The New Yorker, Harper's, the Atlantic, Commentary, the New York Review of Books, in many so-called little or small-circulation magazines, in a few newspapers regularly and in some other newspapers from time to time, occasionally in a Sunday supplement, and in book review media."
Extension Activity for RL 6.10
· Turn one of the scenes from The Absolute Value of Mike into a Drama/Play.
o Be sure to include: stage directions, dialogue, movement, multiple characters
· Complete the Reading Strategies Checklist (in the folder)
Extension Activity for RI 6.10
· Complete the Three-Column Notes Graphic Organizer after reading the article (in your folder).