Unit 1 (Ch. 1-5)

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What is a play?

c) an action focused around a particular conflict, which gives the action significance

In Western drama, a full-length play has historically been designated as one that…

c) lasts two to three hours, typically.

In Greek tragedy, the central character…

a) undergoes a change that leads to his or her demise.

The purging or cleansing of the audience’s pity and terror at the climax of a tragedy is called…

d) catharsis.

Which of the following is true about the differences between tragedy and comedy?

a) Tragedy typically deals with great people, whereas comedy deals with ordinary people.

Tragic suffering differs from pathetic or maudlin feelings in that…

c) the tragic hero takes on a bold and heroic dimension b/c he or she faces huge odds.

Why do comedies typically go out-of-date more quickly than tragedies?

c) Comedies are more topical and deal with ordinary life at the time they are written.

Comedies that use a more bleak humor in dealing with serious themes are known as…

a) dark comedies.

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is different than its classically tragic ancestors bc it…

b) does not contain Gods, but rather contemporary forces.

The Greek term for the "carrier of the action" in a tragedy is…

b) protagonist

A play that dramatizes the key events in the life of a king or head of state, such as Shakespeare’s Henry IV, is called…

a) a history play.

Ultimately, the practice of dividing plays into genre is…

b) always subjective bc each play is unique.

Which dramatic genre purports to be serious but, in fact, deals with human issues on only the most superficial level, embellished with spectacular staging, flamboyant dialogue, and highly suspenseful and contrived plotting?

c) melodrama

Which dramatic genre offers a wild, hilarious treatment of trivial theme, usually based on stock component like identical twins, switched identities, lovers in closets, and might include full stage chases, misheard instructions, various disrobings, discoveries, and disappearances?

c) farce

Which one of the following is part of the horizontal axis of dramaturgy?

a) pre-play

The six components of a play which Aristotle lists, in order of importance, are…

b) plot, character, theme, diction, music and spectacle.

What is the difference between plot and story?

b) Plot refers to the structure of events; story refers to a narrative of what happens in a play.

Which element of drama refers not only to the pronunciation of spoken dialogue but also to the literary nature of the play’s text, including its tone, imagery, articulation, and use of such literary forms as verse, rhyme, metaphor, jest, apostrophe, and epigram?

c) diction

Which element describes the play’s use of rhythm and sounds, either by of instrumental composition or the orchestration of such noises as muffled drumbeats, gunshots, special effects and vocal tones?

c) music

The visual aspect of the play, including the scenery, costumes, lighting, make-up, and the over-all look of the stage are included in the element known as…

d) spectacle

The agreement between the audience and the actor, which includes a whole set of tacit understandings that form the context of play watching, is called…

b) convention

Background information, presented within the play, which the audience must possess in order to understand the action of the play, is called…

b) exposition

Which of the following offers a way that the playwright can present a play’s exposition?

b) a spoken prologue that directly provides information

In play construction, the single action that initiates the major conflict of the play is called the…

b) inciting incident

The final scene, action, or lines in a play devoted to bringing the play to a new level of harmony or understanding, perhaps even resolution, after the climax is called the…

d) denouement

Genre means category or kind.


The central character in any type of drama is called the tragic hero.


The modern play that challenges Aristotle’s definition of tragedy b/c the lead character is a "low man" is Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.


Aristotle’s term for the play’s abstracted intellectual content is "thesis."


In a Greek play, the lead character that moves the action forward is opposed by a figure called the antagonist.


According to Aristotle, it is impossible to break down the elements that make tragedy effective.


When an actor turns to speak directly to the audience, unheard by the other characters, it is known as "side-speak."


Some playwrights criticize the primacy Aristotle gives to plot as a recipe that leads to mechanical plays.


Processions and the Ancient Greek proton are two examples of ways in which theatre artists publicized their plays in ages past.


The audience is not a part of the definition of conventions of the theatre.


The word "theatre" comes from the Greek theatron, which means…

b) seeing place

The word "drama" comes from the Greek dran, which means…

c) to do

Which of the following is NOT a possible meaning of "theatre"?

a) the building where the play is performed. b) the company of players. c) the stage and backstage spaces. d) the occupation of acting, directing, designing, building, crewing, managing, producing, and playwriting. c) the stage and backstage spaces.

The minimal requirement for a theatre "building" is…

d) a place to act and a place to watch.

One term for a long-standing, collective group of theatre practitioners who have worked together is…

c) troupe

Which theatrical craft fits the following description? Technicians execute in proper sequence, and with carefully rehearsed timing, the light and sound cues, the shifting of scenery, the placement and return of properties, and the assignment, laundering, repair, and change of costumes.

d) crewing

The task of securing all necessary personnel, space, and financing; supervising all production and promotion efforts; fielding all legal matters; and distributing the proceeds derived from receipts falls to the…

b) producer

The responsibilities for admitting, seating, and providing for the general comfort of the audience fall to the…

a) house manager

The person who controls and develops the artistic product and provides it with a unified vision is the…

b) director

Which of the following theatrical crafts is usually executed away from the theatre building and its associated shops?

d) playwriting

Historically, theatres have developed in close relationship to…

c) sports activities

While both theatre and sport are public spectacles, theatre differs from sports activities because…

b) theatre has a pre-ordained ending.

The distinctive feature of theatre, which separates it from other arts, is that theatre employs…

a) impersonation

Theatre is an art because it…

c) combines emotions, intellect, and aesthetics.

Denis Diderot’s idea of the paradox of the actor states that onstage…

d) while the actor disappears or seems lifeless, the simulated character seems to live.

The English word for person comes from the Latin word for…

c) mask

In the ancient Greek theatre, what physical and symbolic element separated the actors from the audience?

b) The actors wore masks.

Which mode of performance makes the drama "dramatic" as opposed to simply theatrical, enabling the audience to concentrate on the events that are being and not on their method of demonstration?

a) representational

Which mode of performance acknowledges the audience—as in the case of the nightclub performer who sings, dances, jokes, and responds overtly to applause?

c) The presentational mode.

The mode of performance in which the audience watches interactions that are staged as if no audience were present at all is called…

b) the representational mode.

Coleridge’s term for the audience participation engendered by way of empathy was…

a) willing suspension of disbelief.

Theatrical performance differs from other kinds of performance because…

b) theatre is live, scripted, and rehearsed.

Why did the playwright-director Bertolt Brecht use songs, signs, chalk talks, arguments, and slide projections in his productions?

b) He wanted to discourage stage "magic" in order to appeal to the audience directly about social issues.

How does a theatrical performance differ from a video or a filmed performance?

d) The theatrical performance is live, with the audience and performers, who are aware of each other and mutually interact in their shared presence.

Which of the following is true of the relationship between the play script and the performance?

a) The script is a silhouette or outline of the play itself, which fully exists in performance only.

(T/F) The rigid distinction between the acting space and the audience space came to be formalized when acting became an unsavory, often illegal profession.


(T/F) Theatres built in Elizabethan London to accommodate both plays and bearbaiting provide an example of the shared history of theatre and sport.


Since the development of motion pictures, theatre has suffered declining attendance, revenues, and numbers of theatres in America.


The advantages of live performance include its two-way communication between audience and actors, unification of group responses, and live immediacy which makes every show novel and different.


Although the names and allocations of craft functions such as directing, producing, designing, and stage managing have changed over the course of the theatre’s history, the functions themselves have remained fairly constant.


Although films are recorded, we perceive them as having a greater immediacy than theatre due to the fact that plays are rehearsed and repeated.


Adult plays and children’s games share the ability to help develop means of coping with life’s challenges and uncertainties.


Theatre performances can elicit the audience’s participation by arousing in the audience the feeling of empathy.


Like viewers of television drama and movie-house films, theatre audiences assume an essentially one-on-one relationship with what is being viewed and do not communicate with other viewers.


Performance is an action or series of actions taken for the ultimate benefit of the performers.


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