According to Freytag, a drama is divided into five parts, or acts:
Freytag’s analysis of dramatic structure is sometimes represented by means of a visual aid known as Freytag’s Pyramid.
In the exposition, the background information that is needed to properly understand the story is provided. Such information includes the protagonist, the antagonist, the basic conflict, the setting, and so forth, etc. etc.
The exposition ends with the inciting moment, which is the single incident in the story’s action without which there would be no story. The inciting moment sets the remainder of the story in motion beginning with the second act, the rising action.
Although Freytag’s analysis of dramatic structure is based on five-act plays, it can be applied (sometimes in a modified manner) to short stories and novels as well.
A specific exposition stage is criticized by Lajos Egri in The Art of Dramatic Writing. He states, “exposition itself is part of the whole play, and not simply a fixture to be used at the beginning and then discarded.” According to Egri, the actions of a character reveal who they are, and exposition should come about naturally. The beginning of the play should therefore begin with the initial conflict.
Contemporary dramas increasingly use the fall to increase the relative height of the climax and dramatic impact (melodrama). The protagonist reaches up but falls and succumbs to his doubts, fears, and limitations. Arguably, the negative climax occurs when he has an epiphany and encounters his greatest fear or loses something important. This loss gives him the courage to take on another obstacle. This confrontation becomes the classic climax.
In fairness to Freytag, it should be remembered that his analysis applies not to modern drama but, rather, to ancient Greek and Shakespearean drama, as he clearly indicates in his work.
The Dramatists Guild of America will give its Hull-Warriner Award to playwright David Ives for his historical drama "New Jerusalem," while composer Tom Kitt lands the Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition for "Next to Normal.".(Legit Bits)
Jul 21, 2009; The Dramatists Guild of America will give its Hull-Warriner Award to playwright David Ives for his historical drama "New...