Guide Key Concepts in Public Relations (Palgrave Key Concepts)

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An indepth glossary, this accessible book successfully introduces students to the key concepts, themes and principles of Public Relations. Terms are organized.
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As the eighteenthcentury French critic J. But as I have already indicated, this need not necessarily involve dialogue or verbal clues because the entire framework of a production provides information and this may include the physical setting or the unspoken behaviour of the characters. In this way, tension and suspense are built, and the process of exposition may include revelations and discoveries.

Every audience is presented with a series of potential questions in any performance. What is the significance of what is seen and heard?

Key Concepts in Public Relations

Who are the characters and what are their intentions and motivations? Where, when and in what context are the actions of the play carried out?

You should be able to add other, similar questions. In every case, it is the exposition that enables these questions to be answered or frustrated.

If we consider some of the plays of the Absurd, for example, we can see how the dramatists have set up the expectation of an exposition that provides explanations or revelations, but which, in fact, proves false. See also well-made play. Farce Farce has remained one of the most popular forms of drama in Western theatre. Any theatrical management knows that a farce will usually attract larger audiences than any other production except a Musical. The laughter and release of tension provided was later emulated by Shakespeare in such plays as Macbeth. Although we can certainly see the antecedents of farce in the comedies of Aristophanes, it is in an early Italian form of the genre known as fabula Atellana, dating from the first century AD, that we see its characteristics emerging most clearly.

Emanating from Atella, a town situated between Naples and Capua in southern Italy, these short plays based on scenarios handed down by oral tradition, became very popular in imperial Rome and appear to have been about trickery, cheating and tomfoolery, spiced with obscenity. At some stage, short farces most of them no longer than a few hundred lines were created independently and around of their scripts, written in verse, have survived from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The most complete and satisfying is La Farce de maistre Pierre Pathelin c. Remember that sheep-stealing was an offence punishable by death, so we see here one of the essential qualities of farce: risk.

The name most people associate with farce in theatre even today is that of Georges Feydeau even though his most famous farce, A Flea in her Ear, was written in Such plays have kept their appeal in a quite remarkable way. The reasons for this continuing popularity lie in the concept of farce itself.

Characters, although caught or nearly caught in compromising situations, rarely suffer serious physical harm or total humiliation. They exhibit a degree of naivity and are oblivious to the feelings of others. They remain essentially youthful and, in order to survive, their action and that of the play moves quickly. An audience is caught up in amusement at the situations and senses the tension arising from the risks of discovery or the possibility of physical jokes.

There is inevitably a resolution of the chaos which is part of our dreams and imaginations. There is a good discussion of the nature of farce in J. Davis, Farce See also comedy. Flashback The concept of a flashback is more familiar to film and television than to stage plays but, since the advent of the age of film, dramatists have used the idea to considerable effect, particularly in conjunction with an episodic structure.

When a dramatist employs flashback it is important that the play establishes the convention within which it operates so that the audience is aware that it is seeing time manipulated in this way. In answer to questions she takes the on-stage audience of her accusers through the events that led to her hearing voices and the 28 Textual Concepts subsequent results.

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At times she acts in her own flashbacks, and throughout the play, she serves as a narrator to the events so that there is no confusion as to the time-frame: we know when we are in the past and when in the present. The American dramatists Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams employ a more physical and filmic mode of flashback in their plays, utilising stage technology but still needing to establish the conventions clearly. The ability to move backwards as well as forwards in time has attracted a number of playwrights.

Some of the most significant experiments in this area were undertaken by the English dramatist J. Dunne An Experiment with Time in particular. Both Dangerous Corner and Time and the Conways are structured so that Act I takes place in the present, whereas Act II shows events in the past that contributed to the events of the first Act. Act III returns to the present. These plays, along with An Inspector Calls, which appears to end where it began, have retained a great fascination among modern audiences. More recent dramatists have used smaller units for flashbacks or have structured their entire play in the frame of a flashback.

Hero Our cynical age is uncomfortable with the concept of the hero, and since the late nineteenth century the anti-hero has predominated in writing for the theatre. Through the plays of Ancient Greece, those modelled upon them and the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, we retain the concept of the tragic hero as the central protagonist of a drama and a good deal of influential criticism has examined the role of the hero in the light of classical dramaturgy.

Before we examine these categories in some detail it is worth pointing out that a substantial amount of early twentieth-century literary criticism of the kind associated with A.

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The hero of Ancient Greece was originally mythological: a demigod who had qualities and performed deeds that set him apart from normal mortals. To some extent, this concept extended to drama, but in plays the hero was a character of greater stature than other characters, though also fallible.

The classical hero was not only of noble or princely status but also imbued with noble potential, which made his ultimate fall all the more poignant. By selecting significant figures from history as the heroes of tragedy, dramatists were often flattering their wealthy patrons by showing how the higher ranks of society influenced the course of history.

However, tragic heroes demonstrate by their political importance that they embody important cosmic ideas on behalf of humankind. This, of course, implies the breaking of a set of pre-ordained laws of moral conduct and for the Postmodernist this is an unintelligible concept. Since the collapse of confidence of the Enlightenment, critics have increasingly portrayed the world as an essentially violent entity in which people are largely engaged in wielding or being subjected to power.

For the Postmodernist there is no set of absolutes, no hierarchy of aesthetic or moral principles and, certainly, no outside transcendent God. The hero simply struggles like anyone else, and their elevated political status is neither a source of greatness nor of particular interest to most people. The modern world has become acutely aware of the danger of making heroes out of individuals whose sole aim is the pursuit of power.

Thus, in modern drama, we have the rise of the anti-hero: a central character who is the product of historical and social forces and has few noble ambitions except to survive. The plays of Beckett or Brecht are inhabited by such characters. Many of these figures are concerned with the loss of power, and, in some cases, it is the women who eventually gain it. The anti-hero must often make moral choices but will sometimes take on the role of fool simply in order to survive.

Life for the anti-hero has no governing purpose and little sense of self-image or personal destiny. In all cases, the action and dialogue was supported and heightened by the use of music and we can feel the spirit and ingredients of melodrama in the popular Gothic Novel.

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It built on domestic drama and yet was, in some respects, a parody of classical tragedy with its heroic sentiments, startling moments of revelation and recognition, strong sense of duty and destiny, love, betrayal, judgement and the triumph of virtue. A number of different types of melodrama developed in the nineteenth century.

In all cases the audience was assumed to be largely unsophisticated, illiterate and economically deprived although the development of the railways was leading to a new middle-class, urban audience having access to theatres. You can gain a great insight into these theatrical conditions and attitudes by a study of surviving playbills. These show that a single evening at the theatre might include several short melodramas together with a major tragedy or ballet. Huge amounts of music were composed and played for such evenings, much of it to cover the extensive scene changes that took place with the lowering of the curtain.

A specialised form of the genre, Grand Guignol, developed in the cabaret theatres of Montmartre and, deriving from the puppet figure Guignol a French Punch-like puppet , used melodramatic techniques to show short stories set in tense and horrific situations: a figure staggering on stage with his hands chopped off; a wife enticing her husband to place himself in the guillotine at an exhibition, with the constant possibility that the blade will fall, and so on.

The Grand Guignol enjoyed some brief popularity in England in the s and demanded an intense and detailed physical performance: its appeal lay in the dilemmas and possibilities that confront the characters and the ever-present underlying tension. Monologue The monologue is usually a substantial piece of text for a single voice: a long speech delivered by one character that may be heard but not interrupted by others. In modern, especially late, twentieth-century drama there has been a marked increase in the use and variations of the monologue.

These plays have been highly successful as stage performances. Hare also published a diary of his experiences in this play. The extensive rediscovery of such skills has resulted from the economic situation in the theatre and a growing awareness of the potency of the solo performer as a means of exploring contentious social issues. The solo text is a very personal response to contemporary social issues and, in both the UK and USA, has been used as a way of addressing the collective conscience of the nation. Working for small audiences he refined the performances through discussion until the text was set.

Throughout the s and s Gray explored almost every facet of American life through his stage monologues, with such titles as Sex and Death to the Age of 14; Booze, Cars and College Girls and 34 Textual Concepts Swimming to Cambodia, establishing the monologue as a major new dramatic structure and theatre event.

The use of the monologue as a stage device in modern drama owes more to the influence of performers in cabaret, nightclubs, Music Hall and revue than it does to mainstream commercial theatre. The monologue is an art-form in itself in the hands of a skilled stand-up comic. One of the most effective and elemental forms of theatre is the single figure speaking.

More economical modes of staging, the need to convey substantial narrative or information, as in documentary drama, an awareness of intertextual references, the use of non-theatrical venues with minimal technology and a far more flexible attitude to what length and form constitutes a play, together with a desire to involve audiences in a dynamic way, have all contributed to the development of the monologue as a potent means of communication.

It requires considerable focus and inner energy from the actor together with the ability to employ the voice with clarity and flexibility of pace, pause, volume and pitch. See also dialogue; documentary drama and political drama.

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In film, the process involves the cutting of already filmed sequence shots into longer sections of film, thus giving the finished product a rhythmic narrative structure determined by the editing. In theatre, Brecht, who used the term in his notes to Mahagonny , employed a sequence of disparate yet autonomous scenes following quickly from one to another in order to produce a number of juxtapositions that provide an overall picture of life rather than a narrative plot-line.

In Galileo the protagonist is shown in different lights in different scenes: at times dishonest, avaricious, heroic or cowardly and constantly changing so as to adapt to circumstances. The playwright creates a montage of impressions and images rather than a story line.