Blog: The Structure of a Shakespearean Drama (As It Relates to This Production)

Written in 2003 by Nina, when she was 17.

Every Shakespearian drama consists of five acts, each with a varying number of scenes. Often a parallel exists between the number of acts and the universal law of living things. The production of I Need to Lose Ten Pounds has followed much the same structure. The genre of drama represents life in general. All aspects of life, therefore, are encompassed within this category. Birth, growth, maturity, decline, and death exist as themes that work in both cooperation and competition. The complex tension this situation creates in a play is also the perfect form for examining the stages of producing I Need to Lose Ten Pounds.

The introduction of a play is its birth. It is here that the setting is established, main characters are introduced, and background information is supplied. And in Act I of the production? The setting: the slightly strange minds of the young writers. The main characters: the friends of these young writers. The background for the movie: every experience anyone working toward the production’s completion has ever had. Possibly one of the most important functions of the first act is that it hints at both the atmosphere and the plot of a play. The important word, in terms of this production, is hint. Though the idea has remained the same, the extreme changes the script and production has undergone leads this essay nicely into Act II.

Act II has been the longest and most enduring part of the production. As with any play, the action starts here. The script gets written and rewritten. Characters are introduced (i.e. an assistant director, many actors, and many extras) or forgotten (i.e. Nate). Characters are further defined. Scenes are shot. Act II is about growth and the project has certainly grown. It is now time to introduce a secondary plot. When the hell do the people committed to this production get it done? The answer to this question is: whenever the hell they can. Just trying to get it done becomes a theme of its own. Scheduling conflicts, poorly chosen priorities and a pure lack of motivation continue to be an unwelcome presence contributing to the questionable atmosphere of I Need to Lose Ten Pounds. The play builds momentum.

The maturation of a drama occurs in the third act. The play reaches its climax. Though the production may have reached a state of maturity, it is far too early to decipher its climax. To fully understand a play, one must take into consideration all that happens within it. The production rages on, and so any conclusions as to its zenith would be premature. As to maturity, that seems definite. The cast is fairly set, the plot (both primary and secondary) is fairly constant, and the production has become an impressive independent-art-machine. The story continues to unfold and hopefully the audience is too interested to turn away from the stage.

Act IV and V are more hope than reality. It can only be hoped that Act IV is upon the production. The decline of the production can only be a welcome release. The drama within the drama ends. The secondary plot ends and the movie gets done. The hard work of those truly committed to this massive undertaking finally begins to pay off. The frantic chaos of the pervious acts fades into the past. Act V is where the hopes of the cast and crew truly lie. Though the conclusion is considered the death, it also hints at what happens after the play. If life continues after the production, than it is not a drama. This essay is proven to be completely wrong. The movie does not die – as an entity, it begins to live. If there is a resolution, it is a comedy. To use the term in its modern context – wouldn’t it be nice to still be laughing when it’s all over?

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