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Introduction to Theatre Online Course

Dr. Eric W. Trumbull, Professor, Theatre/Speech

Last revision date: February 21, 2008

Style in Drama


Objectives for this lesson:

Students will examine:

the influence of style of drama and theatre

elements of dramatic / theatrical style



Style: The distinguishing characteristics of a play that reflect conventional practice.
- what are the conventions (agreements) and how are they treated? (Marsh Cassady, in Theatre: An Introduction [Lincolnwood, Il.: NTC Publishing, 1997], p. 28, calls "conventions" "devices the actors, the playwright, the designers, or the director use to expedite the production. An audience willingly accepts and expects such devices as a type of shorthand.")

Styles are usually associated with a period or with an "-ism."

    Some Examples:
                • Classicism
                • Neo-classicism
                • Elizabethan
                • Restoration
                • Romanticism
                • Realism
                • Naturalism
                • Impressionism
                • Expressionism
                • Absurdism

Not only is Genre studies concerned with the type / form of the play, but also with the Style OF THE PLAY
(W/G discuss STYLE of production, not of the drama).

Will the play be realistic:

heightened realism,
selective realism,
naturalistic -- a slice of life,

Will the play include a lot of symbolism, allegory?

Will the play be representational (or "realistic") or presentational (stylized)?


Important terms:






This is the End of Unit One.

Here is a study guide for exam one (in MS Word format)
and here is a study guide for exam one (in text format)...

    You should now make arrangements to take Exam One at a campus location, according to the directions in the syllabus; please be sure to bring an Exam Pass with you, and bring a Scantron sheet...


Begin Unit Two or Return to the First Page.

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Begin Unit Two: Theatre Personnel


This page and all linked pages in this directory are copyrighted Eric W. Trumbull, 1998-2008

Last revision date: February 21, 2008