One-act plays, like any drama, have the same components as short stories: topic, story, character, and dialogue. However, because there is not enough time to develop each element fully, authors tend to focus on a few key areas instead.
The first thing to understand about acts is that they are brief pieces of writing that serve several purposes. First, they give the audience a taste of what's to come in the play. This gives audiences insight into the themes, ideas and attitudes present within the work as a whole. Second, acts often include specific instructions for actors regarding how they should portray certain characters or explain away certain mysteries. These directions help directors and designers create consistent performances and visual effects, respectively. Third, acts often include some sort of conflict between characters, which leads up to a resolution at the end of the piece. This allows writers to explore various possibilities while still giving readers/viewers a clear idea of what will happen next.
Acts were originally written in an era when only theater people could read and write. Because of this, it wasn't uncommon for acts to be written by more than one person. Each writer would take on a different role during production rehearsals so everyone's opinions were heard by both the director and actor.
A one-act play must include the following elements and characteristics:
A one-act play must include the following elements and characteristics: The plot must circle or center on a single incident. The action in the play should be quite fast. The viewer should understand the conflict. Characters should be restricted to two to seven, with one distinct primary character. There should be a clear resolution of the conflict.
The goal of analysis is to discover what the play is about. This can only be done by careful study of the text itself. Analysis begins with an overview of the work as a whole. Its purpose is to identify its major themes and ideas. These are then examined in detail for particular words or phrases that may shed light on the author's intentions.
Analysis involves reading all or part of the play with attention to language use, scene changes, character development, and theme. It may also involve studying photographs or drawings of the set, interviews with actors who have played the role, or observations of rehearsals or performances.
As analysis proceeds, relevant information will begin to accumulate which can then be used to create a detailed picture of what the play is about. This understanding can then be applied to future interpretations of the work.
Analysis is an ongoing process that does not have to be completed once the play has been performed. Actors make changes to their scripts during production, so analysis needs to be flexible enough to accommodate new information that arises during rehearsal or performance.