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Elements of Drama
Read and answer the following:
By now you must have read many plays as a part of your curriculum and maybe out of your own interest too. Many of you may not have acted, directed or produced plays. But surely all of you have read plays.
Have you seen plays staged in your city during Dusshera?
Do you watch Television serials?
Do you watch movies?
I am sure all of you have been exposed to at least one of these modes of drama presentation.
The characters are:
Amanda Wingfield : the mother
Laura : daughter
Tom : son
Jim O'Connor : the gentleman caller
[The Wingfield apartment is in the rear of the building, one of those vast hivelike conglomerations of cellular living - units that flower as warty growths in overcrowded urban centres of lower middle-class population and are symptomatic of the impulse of this largest and fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation and to exist and function as one interfused mass of automatism.
The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire-escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all of these huge buildings are always - burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation. The fire-escape is included in the set --- that is, the landing of it and steps descending from it. The scene is nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omlt some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart. The interior is therefore rather dim and poetic.
At the rise of the curtain, the audience is faced with the dark, grim rear wall of the Wingfield tenement. This building, which runs parallel to the footlights, is flanked on both sides by dark, narrow alleys which run into murky canyons of tangled clotheslines, garbage cans and the 'sinister lattice work of neighbouring fireescapes. It is up and down these side alleys that exterior entrances and exits are made, during the play. At the end of TOM'S opening commentary, the dark tenement wall slowly reveals (by means of a transparency) the interior of the ground floor Wingfield apartment.
Downstage is the living room, which also serves as a sleeping room for LAURA, the sofa unfolding to make her bed. Upstage, center, and divided by a wide arch with' transparent faded portieres (or second curtain), is the dining room. In an oldfashioned what-not in the living room are seen scores of transparent glass animals. A blown-up photograph of the father hangs on the wall of the living room, facing the audience, to the left of the archway. It is the face of a very handsome young man in a doughboy's First World War cap. He is gallantly smiling, ineluctably smiling, as if to say, "I will be smiling forever,"
The audience hears and sees the opening scene in the dining room through both the transparent fourth wall of the building and the transparent gauze portieres of the dining-room arch. It is during this revealing scene that the fourth wall slowly ascends, out of sight. This transparent exterior wall is not brought down again until the very end of the play, during TOM'S final speech.
The narrator is an undisguised convention of the play. He takes whatever license with dramatic convention as is convenient to his purposes. (enters dressed as a merchant sailor from the alley, stage left, and strolls across the front of the stage to the firescape. There he stops and addresses the audience.)
Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth.
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