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The Different Types of Drama That Everyone Should Know About

Types of Drama
Drama reflects human behavior in the form of a story through acting and dance. The elements contained in it and the components of the plot form the basis for classifying drama into specific categories. We have provided you with a list of different types of drama.
Saptakee Sengupta
Did You Know?
The longest running drama, performed by the 27 O'Clock Players in New Jersey, USA on July 27, 2010, was 'The Bald Soprano' that lasted 23 hrs 33 min and 54 sec.
Life and its intricacies are portrayed so well on stage through the actions and performances of theater actors. This creative art form is renowned throughout the world as drama. It is a means of self-expression, where actors showcase their inherent talents on stage and is interwoven with other elements, like music, dance, instruments, microphones, and lights, to make it more appealing to the audience. Theater and drama are collective terms, and the basic component of the play is a story based on fictional events and characters.

The evolution of drama bears a rich history, and it had influences mainly from the Western civilizations. The theatrical culture emerged from Greece and Athens, thereby creating an impact throughout the world. Classical Athenian drama was succeeded by Roman drama, Medieval, Elizabethan and Jacobean (English renaissance theater), modern, and postmodern drama. Different genres of dramas were produced, which gained immense popularity amongst all sections of society. Worth noting, Asian countries like India, China, and Japan also composed dramas that explicitly symbolized their tradition, culture, and ethnicity.
Categories of Drama
Drama was broadly categorized into three different forms, viz. opera, pantomime, and creative drama. We explain them in the following points.
  • Opera: this form was accepted warmly during the Renaissance period due to its versatility. Theater and music were in perfect harmony, and the actors displayed exceptional acting and singing skills.
  • Pantomimes: These were composed keeping the theme of folk tales as the primary element, and symbolism occupied a prominent position. It was organized in the form of masques, where characters wore elaborate costumes and makeup.
  • Creative drama: It is the modern version of drama, which was popularized mostly by youngsters, possessing innate acting skills. Stage shows and theaters were organized in schools and colleges, which provided a platform for students to exhibit their talent.
No matter what the form, every drama contain some basic elements. The components of drama are: theme, plot, audio-visual effects, and music. All these elements must be synchronized perfectly for creating a masterpiece.
Different Types of Drama
A comedy makes us laugh when the play is well-composed with the humorous elements. The story is usually based on real-life characters, funny experiences in life, or any type of fun-provoking situation. A comical drama can also be sarcastic and raunchy. It is usually light in tone and has happy endings. Composing a comical drama requires high level of intellect and perceptive faculties, because provoking laughter is not as easy as it may seem.
According to the definition given by Britannica, it is a comic dramatic piece that uses highly improbable situations, stereotyped characters, extravagant exaggeration, and violent horseplay. Farce, although a sub-category of comedy, is intellectually inferior to comedy because the plots and the characters are substantially crude, ambiguous, and unimaginative.
It is one of the oldest forms of drama. It exposes the plight and suffering of humans to the audience. The perfect example of a tragic drama is Shakespeare's Hamlet. The theme of a tragedy usually rotates around the ruins of a dynasty, downfall of man, emotional betrayals, moral setback, personal loss, death, and denials. A tragedy when composed and enacted well can touch you deeply. These rarely have happy endings.
Melodrama is exaggeration of emotions. It's marked by a surge of emotions, which is a technique to make the character and the plot more appealing to the audience. A melodrama can sometimes fail to derive applause, because excessive display of emotions can become monotonous. On the contrary, a superbly executed melodramatic plot can absorb you completely. They usually depict the good and evil aspects of the characters involved.
It is a complete fictional work where characters virtually display supernatural skills. It is more appealing to children as fairies, angels, superheroes, etc., are embedded in the plot. Use of magic, pseudo science, horror, and spooky themes through various kinds of technical devices create a perfect world of fantasy. The modern version of drama incorporates a great deal of special effects.
Music, melody, and dance play a significant role in a musical drama. Here, the story is conveyed through music and dance along with dialogs and acting. The music should be in sync with the actions, and the performer often uses dance as a means of self-expression. The stage may be equipped with an orchestra, well-rehearsed with the plot and the use of music. Musical drama became popular as opera, which is still considered to be intensely sensuous.
Although drama has been categorized into the aforementioned types, yet people love to experiment their skills to produce many new genres. You can also sustain a single plot combined with all these major forms. The drama gets etched in the minds of the audience when the execution of the script, the stage performance, and the coordination between group members are absolutely perfect.