Drama is a literary composition, which is performed by professional actors on stage (or theatre), before an audience.
It involves conflicts, actions, and a particular theme.
Eye- catching makeup, facial expressions and body language of the artists are prominent features.
The drama was originated in Greece and Rome and had a great fall then was rebirthed and reintroduced into Western Europe in the tenth century during the Middle Ages.
It developed through centuries; there are some worthy mentions hints about periods in English Literature:
It can be traced back from century of succeeding Norman Conquest to England in 1066. Many historians believe that drama came to England along with them. In England, drama had a distinctly religious origin from the church as the part of services. Apart from its origin, the Latin Church had condemned Roman theatre for many reasons. Thus, the drama could not develop until the tenth century when the church began to use dramatic elements as part of their services in a certain festival or ritual. By the fourteenth and fifteenth century, the plays were given in vernacular or local language. The actors were no longer clergy but the amateur actors who trained and selected carefully. The plays were given in the series of the mansion in the town square.
The final stage of the evolution of English drama was the artistic period. In this period, the purpose of the payment was not to point out a moral but to represent human life as it is. During this period, English drama was influenced by classical drama. The first comedy was “Ralph Roister Doister” written by Nicholas Udall in 1556. The first tragedy “Gorboduc” was written by Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton around 1562.
Late Medieval Drama
A great deal of dramatic material is found in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and the 14th century. Most of it is religious.
These plays can be divided into:
The mystery plays – the life of Christ.
Miracle plays – lives of saints.
Morality plays – being good/ moral.
Renaissance Drama (Elizabethan and Jacobean Periods)
During the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and then James I (1603–25), in the late 16th and early 17th century, The English playwrights were intrigued by the Italian model. William Shakespeare stands out in this period as a poet and playwright as yet unsurpassed. He was himself an actor and deeply involved in the running of the theatre company that performed his plays. Most playwrights at this time tended to specialize in, either history, or comedies, or tragedies. but Shakespeare is remarkable in that he produced all three types. His 38 plays include tragedies, comedies, and histories. In addition, he wrote his so- called "problem plays", or "bitter comedies"
Other important playwrights of this period include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, John Fletcher Francis Beaumont, Ben Jonson, and John Webster.
A popular style of theatre during Jacobean times was the revenge play, which had been popularized earlier in the Elizabethan era by Thomas Kyd (1558–94) and then subsequently developed by John Webster (1578–1632) in the 17th century.
It begins in the late nineteenth century and continues to the present day.
By the late 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and other economic changes ensured that prosperous, educated middle- class people comprise the majority of theatergoers.
Romanticism gave way to Realism during the 19th century, paving the way for the era of contemporary drama in the 20th century.
In the early part of the 20th century, the musical drama came to dominate stages in New York and England, although each theater season saw the release of straight dramatic plays as well.
The Dramas traveled to Broadway in New York and around the world. Some of them were turned into feature films as well. Postmodernism had a serious effect on the existence of English drama, at the end of the 20th century.
Drama in Western Europe was started by Greeks which influenced most of the dramas in Rome.
As the world saw the fall of the Roman Empire, the drama died as well, but them was reborn in the early medieval time as part of religion.
The modern Drama is still much alive but most people are starting to take more interest in other sources of entertainment.