What Are Dramatic Techniques?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 25, 2020 10:17:32 PM ET

Dramatic techniques include literary devices and staging elements determined by the playwright, director or stage manager. Dramatic techniques are used by a playwright to enhance the emotional, aural, and visual experience of the audience and to underline a script's meaning, according to David Farmer of Drama Resource.

Literary devices that are often used in dramatic productions include conflict, foreshadowing, imagery, personification, satire, symbolism and theme, according to Robert DiYanni in the McGraw-Hill Glossary of Drama Terms. These literary devices help add layers of meaning that people experience when reading or watching a story. These additional layers of meaning make stories feel more universal and heighten the sense of drama.

According to Wikipedia, the playwright often describes the scenes, characters, setting, and other aspects of a play to guide the reader, director or actor in their experiences. Specific dramatic techniques used by playwrights may include establishing formal tableaux as part of staging; breaking the so-called "fourth wall" (in which an actor speaks directly to the audience); slapstick and other physical comedy; and breaking the narrative time line through the use of flashforwards or flashbacks.

The director or stage manager often introduces his own interpretations of theme or setting as social or political commentary or to achieve some other artistic end. As Wikipedia points out, the director and stage manager have the most physical control over a production, making choices about lighting, sound, sets, props and costuming that drive the aural and visual impact of the production.