Theater: The Structure of Plays

Plot

the arrangement of the incidents that take place in a play.

Exposition

detailed information revealing the facts of the plot.

Climax

turning point in the action of a play.

Antagonist

the character opposing the protagonist; can be a person, idea, or force.

Theme

the basic idea or purpose of the play. It ties together all the characters and events.

Spectacle

all visual elements of production, such as scenery, properties, lighting, costumes, makeup, stage movement, and dance.

Act

A major division of a play.

Tragedy

a play that deals with a serious situation in a serious way. The protagonist dies or is defeated at the end of the play.

Comedy

a play that presents its theme and characters in a humorous way. All characters come together at the end of the play.

Melodrama

an exaggerated, fast-moving play in which action is more important than characterization. The "good guys" win and the "bad guys" are punished.

Protagonist

The principal character, who represents the main thought of the play.