* Dramatic Exposition : The presentation through dialogue of information about events that occurred before the action of a play, or that occur offstage or between the staged actions; this may also refer to the presentation of information about individual characters' backgrounds or the general situation (political, historical, etc.) in which the action takes place.

In this directory EXPOSITION is from framaturgy POV

vtheatre.net/200 (aesthetics)





of course, EXPOSITION in acting, directing, film and other directories. 2008-2009 stagematrix.com

Fall 2003: Modern Drama: Selected Plays from 1879 to the Present Walter Levy, Pace University ISBN: 0-13-226721-7 Prentice Hall Paper; 985 pp Published: 10/21/1998 In different classes we approach this topic differently, because the issues of exposition are different for actor or director. But the place where we all in theatre come together is here -- the drama and the laws of DRAMATIC composition.

Consider exposition as establishing the rules of the game! But this process has its own rules! What do you need to get involved into this GAME? First, the understanding... But what if I speak no English, sir? Here is the trick, my friend -- drama has its own language! Why do you think the whole world does watch American movies? Action movies, for example. Because film language is based on dramatic language, which is trully universal!

Do you know that in our communications only 7% of the message is delivered through words? The rest -- body language, paralangual (tone, value of your voice and etc.)! You see? This is how your dog understands you! This is how we learn to speak... Yes, thanks to this language of drama we can learn all other languages!

23 centuries ago Aristotle wrote a little book "The Poetics" with the first explainations about the language of drama. We will talk about Plot (Action), Hero (Character) and Idea (Message) all the time, but how are they expressed?

You must remember that any play is only a blueprint for the show, that in actuality we won't read, but SEE the play. What would we see in "Hamlet"?

Let me try what I call the "silent movie" method. We don't know what they say, but see that the solders are afraid. Night. Castle. Some strange Ghost appeares... Are you interested to know what the story is about? [Lost page -- go to 200X files!]

SHOWS: 12th Night
Fall 2002: DramLit

Spring 2003: Scriptplay Analysis

Moliere Page

See "5W's" you need to establish in act.vtheatre.net


I terrorize my acting and directing students with the requirement of finished exposition, when they can't move further without fulfilling all the elements that must be established in order to build up the action.

Not any new information is expository!


If it's easy to start your analysis with the climax, go for it (in DJ climax and end are the same). Better start with the exposition.

Most difficult: The Three Sisters. Why?


Define Hamlet's exposition. First scene? First Act? Story vs. Plot ( 215.I.1 )


Exposition in "The Importance of Being Earnest"? When ALL the elements for advancing plot are introduced? The end of scene two, three?

* Shaw * online *

Title page as exposition [ + stage directions ]

The point of exposition is to put the initial dramatic question on the table, or to introduce, at least in part, to the dramatic situation. Sometimes it can do both. Sometimes it is exclusively concerned with the one or the other. *Critical Concepts

Dramatic Question -- A basic problem of any storyteller or playwright is holding the audience’s attention. Suspense is one of the most familiar ways stories and plays can be designed to do this. Suspense engages the audience’s interest in finding out whether things will turn out in some particular way or that. If we look closely at the art of generating suspense, we notice that the author proceeds by raising (i.e., prompting the audience to raise) a specific question about how things will return out. Such a specific called-for curiosity is what is termed a dramatic question. Usually this question will sooner or later be resolved by our discovering how in fact things do end up turning out. And at this point it is possible for a new dramatic question to arise, which in turn engages our interest in the sequel.

Dramatic Situation | Conflict -- One of the chief sources of people's absorption in stories, from time immemorial, has been their capacity to identify with people who are involved in conflicts.
To have a conflict, we have to have two things, and these things have to be not merely different or even opposite from each other but actively opposed to each other.

[ wiki ] Exposition (including inciting moment)
In the exposition, the background information that is needed to understand the story properly is provided. Such information includes the protagonist, the antagonist, the basic conflict, the setting, and so forth.
The exposition ends with the inciting moment, which is the single incident in the story's action without which there would be no story. The inciting moment sets the remainder of the story in motion, beginning with the second act, the rising action.

Hamlet (5 act-structure)

Act I contains all introductory information and thus serves as exposition: The main characters are introduced and, by presenting a conflict, the play prepares the audience for the action in subsequent acts. To illustrate this with an example: In the first act of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the protagonist Hamlet is introduced and he is confronted with the ghost of his dead father who informs him that King Claudius was responsible for his death. As a consequence, Hamlet swears vengeance and the scene is thus set for the following play.

Bedford Read Drama

Technique of the Drama: An Exposition of Dramatic Composition and Art (Textbook Binding) by Gustav Freytag 0384168515

Exposition Page in Method Acting

Narrative Exposition: In drama, the presentation of essential information regarding what has occurred prior to the beginning of the play. In the exposition to William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," two servants of the house of Capulet discuss the feud between their master and the house of Montague, thereby letting the audience know that such a feud exists and that it will play an important role in influencing the plot.

Aristotelian plot structure (some):

Exposition: Provides those parts of the story that have occurred prior to the play.
Inciting Incident: Triggers the central conflict and its ensuing obstacles

Situation =

The Thirty-six Dramatic Situations
by Georges Polti

[Critical Concepts] ***



Aristotle's Six Parts of a Tragedy : 1. Plot 2. Character 3. Thought (theme, idea) 4. Diction (Language) 5. Music (sound) 6. Spectacle

How are they introduced in exposition of ... ?

I moved all dramatic composition pages to another class pages, 200x Files, Aesthetics. The same with Aristotle and the Poetics.

Go there!

The fundamentals....

123 Composition

Example: "Don Juan" -- Sganarelle (establishing comedy genre), besides setting the story and DJ character. "Two servants talk" format. The moment we have enough info -- DJ appears: to set the conflict.

When and how the themes are introduced: name them.

Death and the Stone Guest are introduced (cemetery and Donna Anna). [for myself -- compare with the Pushkin's organization of the plot]

Link with the "Dangerous Liaisons" pages (conflict, themes, characters, story).

Start your exp. analysis with the title ("The Cherry Orchard" -- for example). Themes, thought, genre and etc.

Character -- 5W's (see act.vtheatre.net)

Stage directions

Production (architecture of the show).

Time and space: (4D) -- Chronotope.

Dialogic nature (Bakhtin): multi-vocal Polyphonic idea. Orchestration.

Performance Arts and the rest. Theatre = the origins of all arts.

Open Structure -- interpretative nature. Secret of Drama

Key terms: (book of) spectator

Super-short history of theatre v. history of drama (evolution of theatre buildings, places): arena to church (Globe)

Hamlet to Oedipus (week two)

Part III -- Theory: Myth

Part IV -- showcase (The Taming of the Shrew) 2004.

Stage v. Screen (The Passion of the Christ).

Theatre: "Analysis of History"

Examples of "complications (Hamlet)

How different theatre professions (tasks) are introduced in expo? Director, designers, actors, managers. Exposition in film: film.vtheatre.net (your favorite movie)
Next: intro
Expo Page link: "Act I contains all introductory information and thus serves as exposition: The main characters are introduced and, by presenting a conflict, the play prepares the audience for the action in subsequent acts. To illustrate this with an example: In the first act of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the protagonist Hamlet is introduced and he is confronted with the ghost of his dead father who informs him that King Claudius was responsible for his death. As a consequence, Hamlet swears vengeance and the scene is thus set for the following play."

The second act usually propels the plot by introducing further circumstances or problems related to the main issue (complicating action). The main conflict starts to develop and characters are presented in greater detail. Thus, Hamlet wavers between taking action and his doubts concerning the apparition. The audience gets to know him as an introverted and melancholic character. In addition, Hamlet puts on “an antic disposition” (Hamlet, I, 5: 180), i.e., he pretends to be mad, in order to hide his plans from the king.

In act III, the plot reaches its climax. A crisis occurs where the deed is committed that will lead to the catastrophe, and this brings about a turn (peripety) in the plot. Hamlet, by organising a play performed at court, assures himself of the king’s guilt. In a state of frenzy, he accidentally kills Polonius. The king realises the danger of the situation and decides to send Hamlet to England and to have him killed on his way there.

The fourth act creates new tension in that it delays the final catastrophe by further events (falling action). In Hamlet, the dramatic effect of the plot is reinforced by a number of incidents: Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia, commits suicide and her brother, Laertes, swears vengeance against Hamlet. He and the king conspire to arrange a duel between Hamlet and Laertes. Having escaped his murderers, Hamlet returns to court.

The fifth act finally offers a solution to the conflict presented in the play. While tragedies end in a catastrophe, usually the death of the protagonist, comedies are simply ‘resolved’ (traditionally in a wedding or another type of festivity). A term that is applicable to both types of ending is the French dénouement, which literally means the ‘unknotting’ of the plot. In the final duel, Hamlet is killed by Laertes but before that he stabs Laertes and wounds and poisons the king. The queen is poisoned by mistake when she drinks from a cup intended for Hamlet.

The Set/Script/Exposition/The Three C's: Conflict, Complication, Crisis, Climax /More on Character and Action -- (Hamlet) There are two main kinds of exposition:

1. information that all of the characters know

2. information that only some of the characters know and the others need to find out.

Louis Catron said that "constructing a character is rather like building an iceberg. All that is visible must be supported by a far greater bulk that cannot be seen." Catron recommends that only ten percent of the character that you develop makes it into the play.

Raymond Hull defined a play script as "primarily a set of instructions for a performance." It is the written actions, dialogue, and stage directions, which the actors and director must interpret when they perform the play.

Because the play will usually be acted without the playwright present, a standard way of writing scripts has evolved. This script format includes:

the character's name in caps placed in the center of the page
any stage directions in italics under the character's name.
dialogue indented on both the right and left sides of the page. -- Remember that drama is a visual medium, a medium that uses space and time, and one that requires a combination of interesting actions and pointed dialogue. As Beth Hurst said, "what drew me to theatre was precisely the opportunity it provided to join word and image, word and action, to force language to encounter the three dimensions of the theatrical space." EXPOSITION contains:

[ Sign systems (acoustic: language, tone, sound effects, music; visual: facial mime, gesture, movement, dress, form of stage, props, lighting): information conveyed by each, interaction of these systems at each point in a drama ]

Information about place or location: internal space, external space; spatial deixis (demonstrative pronouns); techniques for conveying information about external space; Aristotelian unity of place.

Information about time: internal time, performance time; Aristotelian unity of time.

Information about characters: explicit (in stage directions, in dialogue, in soliloquy), implicit (speech style, speech register, sociolect, idiolect, actions, facial expression & miming, settings, props); relationships between characters.

Information about structure: act / scene division, function of each scene, constellation of characters present / absent in each scene; chronological sequence of events or reconstruction of chain of events (as in analytical drama); dialogic / monologic structure.

Information about action: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, catastrophe (Horace, five-act structure)--modified in modern drama; exposition as separate scene or integrated within further action; action (representation of events) vs plot (sequence of events); Aristotelian unity of action.

Information about language: verse as against prose; sociolect, idiolect, register; speech functions (referential, expressive, appellative, phatic, poetic, metalinguistic); soliloquy (character alone on stage, speaking to self or audience) and monologue (character not alone, giving lengthy speech).

Information about suspense/expectation: references to the future within dialogue / monologue / soliloquy; uncertainty referring to future events or to the way they come about; how is audience guided to hypothesize about events to come.

[ Function of stage directions: kinds of information given, reference to characters or to codes of setting, paralinguistic signs (tone of voice), body language and gesture, clothing, sound, light ]

Theatre w/Anatoly
Play Writing - The Exposition: QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES

1. Draw as carefully as you can a diagram of your conception of Mr. Thomas's "trajectory," [pages 76 and 77].

2. In your own words define the exposition.

3. What methods of exposition, other than those noted in the text, have you observed?

4. Criticize one of them.

5. Try to suggest a fresh device for presenting the exposition.

6. Invent a fundamental opening situation for a plot; then give the exposition in outline, saying how you would present it to the audience.

7. Could your plan profitably be altered so as to work in the expository information along with the action?

8. Make a rapid but well considered draft of so much of the first act as would be required to include all the exposition. [link] composition