Theater vs. Drama

Difference Between Theater And Drama

Theater concerns primarily the art of presentation. Derived from the Greek theatron (a place for ing), the word “theater” initially described an architectural structure selected or built to house dramatic offerings, though it could also accommodate other types of presentations. As used to mean the art of presentation, the term became current in English late in the 17th century. In this article, “theater” denotes the art as a whole, of which the building is only a part. In this sense theater is one of the performing arts, the distinguishing feature of which is the public nature of their expression. The musician, singer, or actor may rehearse arduously, but not until he appears before an audience does he actually create the artistic work itself.

Some confusion exists about the relation of “theater” and “drama.” Normally, “drama” refers to the literary basis of a theatrical presentation, the assumption being that the written record contains the essential elements of the human experience enacted in the theater. In this view, “theater” is merely the physical expression of the playscript. Though of long standing and satisfactory enough when applied to European theater, where the written word has normally been the basis of presentation, this formulation does not apply so readily to Asian theater, where gestural and musical presentation has usually taken precedence over verbal presentation. It is better, therefore, to define theater as the embracing art of presentation that includes the enactment of mimetic activity. In this view theater comprises not only drama but also circus, dance, opera, and puppetry.



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