Period 2 (part)
Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations
"Drama requires characters who want things they don't have yet, who need things they don't recognize yet, who are in conflict with people and forces arrayed against them."
Please read the handout on plots by Georges Polti (or Johann Goethe or Carlo Gozzi):
- What is at the core of a good dramatic idea?
The article makes a point about the 36 dramatic situations by Georges Polti. Please link to this page on our link page to your right. Read a few of the 36 dramatic situations. Which ones interest you? Which ones can you relate to? Which ones have you seen in literature or film? Discuss these 36 dramatic situations with a neighbor today.
- Which one would you create a one-act play around?
- Choose 1 or 2 of the dramatic situations and begin outlining a one-act play based on the idea.
- List style (drama, realism, situational comedy, absurdist, satire, romantic comedy, farce, dark comedy, historical drama, tragedy, agitation propaganda or political drama, musical, etc.)
- List possible characters, setting(s), conflicts; use the dramatic situation to create a theme, premise, and major dramatic question.
- Create a breakdown of the structure of the possible play, consider what theatrical conventions you might use (see previous posts concerning theatrical conventions).
- Sketch out your plan.
- Ex. Supplication:
- A young journalist has uncovered a big scandal in local politics and is threatened by the mayor and district attorney to keep the story under wraps. The journalist needs the help of a lawyer and her chief editor to run the story and expose the corruption. She is questioning her calling and needs support or encouragement.
- Possible characters: journalist, mayor, district attorney, lawyer, chief editor, a local laborer affected by the scandal in some way, perhaps a fellow journalist to act as a confidante.
- Setting: A small newspaper office.
- Conflict: person v. person (journalist v. mayor); person v. society (mayor v. public; media v. government); person v. self (should I expose the truth at the cost of my own job?); person v. nature (children are getting sick from lead poisoning)
- Premise: I will write a play about a journalist who has to risk her job to expose a scandal.
- MDQ: how can the journalist do the right thing and expose the scandal without getting fired? Will the newspaper print the truth? What is a journalist's civic and ethical responsibility?
- Theme/message: truth; the public has the right to know; corruption in power (often through money) spreads like a disease.
- My play will include 3 scenes (each about 6-10 pages); scene 1: the discovery of the threat complicated by threats by the Mayor's office to silence the story; scene 2: complications are revealed as the DA has bribed the chief editor not to run the story while the journalist seeks legal help after being physically threatened to kill the story; scene 3: after seeing the public damage at stake, the journalist persuades the chief editor to run the story anyway, exposing the scandal.
Play Reading: Agamemnon, Episode/Scene 1 (Prologue) & screening if there is time.
HOMEWORK: Complete your play analysis (see Google Classroom for details); due Thursday, Dec. 13. Read Agamemnon by Aeschylus. Create the play design task above to plan your last one-act play. This draft will ultimately be due after Winter Break.