Interactive flashcards help students review their knowledge of approximately 200 terms.

falling action
the portion of a play’s structure, usually at or near the end, in which the complications of the rising action are untangled.
a genre of fast-paced comedy characterized by rapid stage action, a series of misunderstandings, ludicrous characterizations, and physical humor. Farcical techniques were employed by Greek and Roman playwrights such as aristophanes and plautus, though the term farce itself was not used until the middle ages, when it came to refer to comic scenes inserted in church plays. The genre of farce flourished in medieval and Renaissance Europe, most notably in the comic improvisations of the commedia dell’arte. One of the most famous later writers of farce is the French playwright, Georges Feydeau (1862–1921).
Federal Theater Project
part of the Works Progress Administration enacted by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, the Federal Theater Project was a government program that created work for theater artists, writers, musicians, and arts practitioners during the Great Depression. The program was run by Hallie Flanagan (1890–1969), who had directed the Experimental Theatre at Vassar College. In the FTP, Flanagan created a forum for socially relevant theater, including the cultivation of new works and important revivals. Famous productions included Sinclair Lewis and John Moffitt’s It Can’t Happen Here and Orson Welles’ Macbeth. The FTP was also associated with “living newspapers,” multimedia theatrical productions that examined pressing social issues. The project ended in 1939 but laid the foundation for the regional theater movement in America.
flat characters
characters in a play, often but not always minor characters, who are relatively simple; who are presented as having few, though sometimes dominant, traits; and who thus do not change much in the course of a play. (See round characters.)
originally, a layer of polished metal placed beneath a gem to accentuate its brilliance; when applied to drama, a character whose qualities or traits highlight those of another. In shakespeare’s hamlet, for instance, Laertes serves as a foil to Hamlet because both are put in the position of avenging a murdered father.
a form of publication to create books of the largest format, comprised of large sheets of paper folded in half to create two leaves (folio is Latin for “leaves”), or four pages. shakespeare’s works were published posthumously in1623 in an edition now known as the First Folio. (See quarto.)
any literary device that alludes to future occurrences in a story’s plot. The use of symbolic imagery is commonly used to foreshadow events, as is the convention of narrative prophecy often employed by classical Greek dramatists.
fourth wall
theatrical term applied to the realist stage, where actors no longer played directly to the audience but instead focused on each other. In nineteenth-century England, the convention became increasingly popular and stage sets were designed to replicate a traditional room with three walls, the “fourth wall” (that is, the proscenium arch, or front of the stage) being open for observation of the action by the audience.
a theatrical movement conceived in 1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876–1944) that sought to transform humanity by rejecting the past and embracing the age of the machine. A typical futurist technique is the use of brief, simultaneous skits that depart from traditional modes of character development and often involve direct interaction or even confrontation with audience members. Futurist performances also utilized technology to create multimedia effects.