Elements of Drama: Contrast

Part 2 in a series exploring the use of various dramatic elements.

In this case, it was in the classroom with a simple skit devised by my Year 11 Drama students.

My definition of contrast:

Without the careful use of contrast a performance is boring and lacks tension.  An obvious example of contrast is a sad scene followed by a happy one. But contrast can be created in more subtle and sophisticated ways, such as manipulating the drama to create a change in setting, use of space or rhythm. The pace of scenes can also be altered, as can various dramatic elements within one small section of a performance.

My students’ found out about contrast themselves by manipulating their drama skit to include contrast. Their conclusions follow….

Examples of Contrast

  • contrast between characters
  • contrast in emotions
  • contrast in pace
  • contrast in the use of sound
  • contrast between plots and subplots
  • contrast in the use of space
  • contrast in movement between characters
  • contrast in facial expressions used by characters
  • contrast in the use of voice by characters
  • contrast in mood
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15 comments on “Elements of Drama: Contrast

  1. hello.can somebody help me? is dramatic contrast same as contrast in drama?

  2. hello .can you help me?i have an assignment question .it says discuss dominic mulaisho’s use of dramatic contrast in the tongue of the dumb? i dont understand the question.what should i include in the assignment? is dramatic contrast meaning contrast in drama?

    • Prosperine kalunga

      June 1, 2018 at 7:31 am Reply

      Am also having the same assignment. Where you helped by anyone? If so, then am kindly asking for your help as well

  3. What is the most important use of contrast?

  4. Please explain the contrast between two characters.

    • Belle, contrast between two characters is simply a point of difference between the character types. In a student-devised drama, this may be a deliberate decision to create characters that have different personality traits, for example.

  5. This does not tell me anything detailed. It gives examples of contrast, but thats about it. What is the definition. Why is it effective? Why is it used?

  6. Can you please explain contrast between plots and subplots?

    Thank you

    • Nida, a plot is the main storyline. Subplots are secondary (smaller, less significant) plots connected to the main plot in some way. TV soapies and Shakespearean dramas are good examples of a series of subplots running parallel with the story’s main plot.

  7. It’s hard to understand the information!

  8. more information please.COMPARE AND CONTRAST DRAMA ELEMENTS FROM NEWS ELEMENTS.
    Clear?
    the information is lacking, 🙁

    • ica,

      “Compare and contrast drama elements from news elements” – what do you mean by this? What information do you need? I’ll help you if I can, but please provide more details.

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