What is drama

What is Drama?
By: Anonymous

The question asked is \'what is drama?\' Can we truly define it? Is there a
\'textbook\' definition of something that can be so personal? What is drama in
relation to theatre? Why is drama so important? What are its uses, its aims?
Some have said that drama develops self-esteem and encourages creativity
and imagination. This is true, and will be demonstrated through examples
from personal experiences. Usually the first thing that occurs in a drama class
is that someone will ask for a definition of the word drama. Most of the class
will look away, as if in deep thought praying that they are not called on,
because they do not know the answer. At first glance, it seems a simple
question, but as one begins to delve into the true nature of drama, the answer
is not so cut and dry. For some, drama is a type of television show, such as a
hospital or lawyer show. For others, it is that section of the movie rental place
where all \'chick flicks\' are. For still others, drama means Sophocles,
Euripides, and Aeschylus. For teachers, drama means all and none of these
things. A clear definition is needed in order to lead the students in various
activities, and towards various goals. What good is it to have the students
explore within themselves if the teacher does not know what the aim or
direction of the exploration is? Many teachers claim that their purpose of
drama is to develop the child\'s sense of self. This however is slightly vague.
Most people in education strive for this in one way or another. Bettering the
child in body mind and spirit is a general goal for teachers, so this idea is not
particular to drama. So then, what exactly is drama? There is one school of
thought that defines it as "an expressive process which is best understood
through the idea of symbolization and its role in the discovery and
communication of meaning"(McGregor 24). This is an accurate definition, as
it also goes on to explain that drama is \'multi-faceted\' and that he child gains
experience through "voice, language, the body as prime means of expression;
and the associated media of light, sound and space"(McGregor 24). I have
had many opportunities to participate in dramatic activities, and to express
myself in different ways. One such activity I engaged in was a dance drama
while attending my final year of high school in Toledo. The song was entitled
\'Forever Young\' and it was about growing up and growing old without
knowing one\'s place in life, without ever being happy. The melody was
almost regretful in tone, and the lyrics were pleading in nature. At this point in
time, I was two months away from graduation, about to leave the place I had
called home for five years. I was not yet ready to leave my youth and enter
into the unknown world of university. I was afraid, reluctant, and
introspective, much like the protagonist of the song. Through dance, two
other girls and I expressed our feelings on graduation. We used gentle
movements; always aware of the softness of the angles our bodies were
making. The arms were always curved, the head rolling into positions, as
opposed to jerking. The lights were dimmed, with only a pale, white light
focused on the center of the stage, giving it a bit of a glow. Since we had
three characters, we decided to act out three stages in life: the child, the
teenager, and the adult. The child was dancing in the center of the stage,
playing with the light, dancing with imaginary friends, happy, carefree,
oblivious to its surroundings, and interested only in the moment. The teenager
was standing just beyond the light of childhood, attempting to interact with the
child, but never actually crossing the light. She would circle around it, look
inward with longing, then turn with her back to the light, facing adulthood with
fear and trepidation. She would take a few steps in one direction, then turn
the other way, and take a few more steps, as if she were lost and confused,
like in a maze.