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

literally, "monkey entertainment" (Japanese), a form of variety theater containing comic dialogues and short skits that were performed at Buddhist temples. By the thirteenth century, sarugaku become increasingly sophisticated and was thereafter known by the name sarugaku noh . (The term noh means "skill" or "craft.")
sarugaku noh
see sarugaku.
Sanskrit theater
a classical form of Indian theater that dates back to approximately 100 c.e. The purpose of Sanskrit theater is to move the spectator to experience the appropriate rasa or sense of pleasure and delight. shudraka's the little clay cart is a Sanskrit play. (Sanskrit is the classical language of ancient India.)
a form of comedy that relies on wit and irony to offer social commentary through imitation and ridicule of its subject.
satyr play
in ancient Greece, a comedic burlesque or short satirical play that often accompanied a tragedy at the city Dionysia. In form, the plays were composed of episodes followed by choral odes and also incorporated dance. Unlike tragedies, these plays used colloquial language, lewd dialogue and gesture, and parodies of familiar myths and stories.
traditional segmentation of a play's structure to indicate a change in time or location, to jump from one subplot to another, or to introduce new characters or rearrange the actors on the stage. Traditionally plays are composed of acts , which are then broken down into scenes. In the French tradition as practiced by molière and racine , a new scene begins whenever a character enters or exits the stage.
scène à faire
literally, "scene that must be done" (French), the obligatory scene that resolves the end of a well-made play.
the physical representation of the play's setting (location and time period) in a production that also serves to emphasize the aesthetic concept or atmosphere of the play. Scenery can be painted drops or flats, projections, a built environment, or even a natural environment.
literally, "mansions" (Latin), localized acting sites within the acting area of a church. ( See platea .)
sentimental comedy
a genre of comedy popularized in eighteenth-century England that departed from the bawdy and titillating themes of the Restoration (1640-1700) and emphasized instead the simple and innate goodness of humankind. Interest in the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and other philosophers fueled the assumption that people could be saved from vice if instructed to follow their natural instincts. Topics such as the social order, moral elevation, and appropriate sexual behavior were often the focus of these plays. Like domestic tragedy , sentimental comedy often centered on and appealed to the middle class.
the design, decoration, and scenery of the stage during a play, usually meant to represent the location(s) in the drama.
the time and location in which a play takes place. A play can have multiple settings and incorporate more than one time period as well.
the wooden scene house that stood behind the orchestra in a classical Greek theater. The skene is thought to have had one or more doors where actors and chorus members could enter and exit the playing space and make costume changes, and an upper level or roof where gods and other characters could appear. On either side of the structure were passageways where the chorus could also enter and exit. The front area of the skene was later described by historians as the paraskenion . Skene is the origin of the English word "scene."
originally, a wooden sword worn by the commedia dell'arte character Harlequin which figured prominently in his comedic routine. As a subgenre, slapstick is a form of physical comedy often characterized by farcical situations, crude jokes, and reckless behavior.
a monologue uttered by a character alone onstage that provides insight into his or her thoughts. The theatrical convention is common in plays from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century and is generally associated with shakespeare's works. The device was discarded by modern dramatists, such as august strindberg , concerned with creating realistic depictions on stage.
sound effect
a sound recorded or created for a theatrical piece to enhance the aural dimension of the world of the play.
generally, the element(s) in a play's production that appeal to the visual theatricality of the piece, such as costumes, scenery , or stage tricks. Described in Aristotle's Poetics as the sixth element of tragedy (after plot , character , thought, diction, and song). Spectacle can also be defined as the aspects of performance not inherent to the written text, including all of the properties that create atmosphere or offer visual stimulation. In modern usage, the term often implies elaborate or costly stage effects.
stage business
physical activities or gestures adapted by performers to enhance their level of characterization and help elucidate a play's subtext. Stage business is generally not included in the playwright's text but is determined by the actor and/or director during the rehearsal process.
stage directions
in the text of a play, directions or actions indicated by the playwright that describe the physical movements or emotional responses of the characters on stage. Stage directions may also note the setting , the physical appearance of the characters, and their relationships with one another. In a printed play, stage directions are normally italicized and enclosed in brackets so they can readily be distinguished from dialogue. eugene o'neill is famous for his lengthy and detailed stage directions.
Stanislavsky Method
an approach to realistic acting created by Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938) that involves the study of emotional and psychological responses and their expression through physical and vocal technique. Stanislavsy's teaching methodology and the vocabulary that characterizes it exerted a profound influence on twentieth- and twenty-first-century acting and script analysis, especially in the United States.
choral dance songs that separate a series of episodes in a Greek tragedy.
stock character
a recognizable character type that can be found in many plays. Comedies have traditionally relied on such stock characters as the braggart soldier, the miserly father, the beautiful ingénue, or the trickster servant. Commedia dell'arte and the Atellan farce relied entirely on the peculiarities of stock characters to provide inspiration for creating scenarios.
Sturm und Drang movement
literally, "storm and stress" (German), a movement in theatrical writing that took place in Germany between the late 1760s and the mid-1780s. Proponents of the movement rebelled against neoclassical dictums and eighteenth-century rationalism with a drama that emphasized passion, inspiration, and individualism.
a secondary plot that usually shares a relationship with the main plot, either thematically or incidentally. The subplot often deals with the secondary characters in the play.   ( See Romanticism.)
Konstantin stanislavsky 's term for unspoken text; for an actor, the internal motivations or responses never explicitly stated in the dialogue, but understood either by the audience or the characters themselves. The dramatist creates subtext to underscore the emotional or intellectual truth of a character's life that is unspoken but implied.
an artistic movement popularized in the 1920s and embraced through the late 1930s, primarily in painting and the fine arts. Spearheaded by Andre Breton (1896-1966) in his 1924 manifesto, the tenets of surrealism were greatly influenced by Sigmund Freud's (1856-1939) theory of the unconscious, in which everyday logic is rejected for the irrational mingling of symbols and desires. The manipulation of these patterns offered artists such as Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) and Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) a forum for highly theatrical work that emphasized mythic traditions and their relationship to everyday experience.
something that represents or suggests something else through association, resemblance, or convention. For example, in many cultures the color black symbolizes death and mourning, while in certain literary traditions the moon symbolizes purity and chastity.
generally, the use of symbols; more specifically, an artistic movement, typically associated with late-nineteenth-century French poets such as Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), Charles Baudelaire (1821-1876), and Stéphane Mallarmé (1862-1949), that began as a revolt against the predominant realistic style of European literature. In drama, this break from realism applied to both the dramaturgical aspects of symbolist plays and the way in which they were staged. In form and content, symbolist playwrights strayed from the conventions of popular domestic dramas and sought to represent a sense of truth that stretched beyond the recognizable or scientific world. The use of symbols or metaphors--inherently tied to visceral response and to stories that defy time or cultural milieu--was intended to express deeper states of human consciousness. This was demonstrated through staging techniques that emphasized mood and atmosphere over narrative. Playwright Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) is a prominent representative of this movement.