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ERIC Number: ED450425
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Drama: Text and Performance.
Brown, Joanne
Because playwrights are limited to textual elements that an audience can hear and see--dialogue and movement--much of a drama's tension and interest lie in the subtext, the characters' emotions and motives implied but not directly expressed by the text itself. The teacher must help students construct what in a novel the author may have made more overt. Other factors also complicate a reader's response to drama. Dramatic texts are actually pretexts to performance, closer relatives to musical scores than to purely verbal artifacts like novels or poems, and the script is no more the play than a score is the symphony. A question at the heart of teaching dramatic literature is: How does a teacher approach a playtext in a way that examines not only its literary aspects but those significant performative dimensions that create meaning? This paper discusses how teachers can help students bring drama to life; approaches that allow students to explore how actors create meaning in their respective roles; how a playwright's meaning may vary from cast to cast; how the director's guidance affects interpretation; and how the technical effects may shape the final performance. The paper contends that the secret is to read as if watching the play on a personally imagined stage performed for the reader as the primary audience. It suggests two related techniques--studying the text as an actor to explore the role of a particular character, or positioning yourself as the director. The paper analyzes Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" to illustrate how an "actor" or "director" might approach it. (NKA)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A